Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Strategies for Stronger Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your daily life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can affect your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. Communication can become strained for couples who are coping with hearing loss. This can cause increased tension, more quarrels, and even the growth of animosity. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in substantial ways.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? In part, these tribulations arise because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a slowly advancing condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) might not recognize that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication problems. This can lead to both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find workable solutions.

Relationships can be improved and communication can start to be repaired when hearing loss is diagnosed and couples get reliable solutions from us.

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

It’s very easy to disregard hearing loss when it first presents. This can lead to substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common problems can develop because of this:

  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. As a result, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: It’s not uncommon for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will erupt more often because of an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as needing volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when somebody hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very clearly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. Spouses will often start to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound jumbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” causing resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being dismissed if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can often happen. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.

These issues will frequently start before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. If somebody doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the core of the problem, or if they are dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Tips for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

How do you live with somebody who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? For couples who are willing to formulate new communication strategies, this typically isn’t a problem. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • When you repeat what you said, try utilizing different words: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But try switching the words you use instead of using the same words. Certain words may be harder to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you use.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks that cause substantial anxiety (like going to the grocery store or making phone calls). There also might be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • As much as you can, try to look directly into the face of the individual you’re talking with: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual cues for someone with hearing loss. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to preserve concentration. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Patience: This is especially true when you recognize that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You may have to repeat yourself more often or raise the volume of your voice. You might also have to speak more slowly. This kind of patience can be a challenge, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. When hearing loss is under control, communication is generally more successful (and many other areas of tension may recede as well). Additionally, treating hearing loss is a safety issue: hearing loss can effect your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. You could also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better control any of these potential issues.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

Hearing tests are typically non-invasive and really simple. In most circumstances, those who are tested will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a tone. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Encouraging your partner to touch base with us can help guarantee that hearing loss doesn’t undermine your happiness or your partnership.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Stop struggling to hear conversations. Come see us today. Call or Text