Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many areas of your daily life. Neglected hearing loss, for example, can impact your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. For couples who are coping with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased stress, more arguments, and even the growth of animosity. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in significant ways.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? These difficulties occur, in part, because people are usually oblivious that they even have hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a slowly developing condition. As a result, you (and your partner) might not notice that hearing loss is the base cause of your communication problems. Practical solutions might be hard to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

Relationships can be helped and communication can start to be mended when hearing loss is diagnosed and couples get effective solutions from us.

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

It’s very easy to overlook hearing loss when it first presents. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings as a result of this. The following common problems can develop because of this:

  • Couples frequently mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when someone 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 totally unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. Spouses will often begin to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound jumbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can sometimes result in tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel disregarded. This can frequently occur when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. Feeling as if your partner is not paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the basis of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. As a result, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: It isn’t unusual for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more frustrating. Arguments can become more frequent too. Hearing loss associated behavioral changes, such as requiring volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension

These issues will frequently begin before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of resentment might be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the core issue (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on ignoring their symptoms).

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can lead to so much conflict in a relationship, how do you live with someone who has hearing loss? For couples who are willing to establish new communication strategies, this typically is not a problem. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • 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 usually more successful (and many other areas of stress may recede also). Safety is also a concern with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. You could also fail to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get assistance managing any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You might have to repeat yourself more frequently or raise the volume of your voice. It might also be necessary to speak in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be significantly improved by exercising this kind of patience.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks that cause substantial stress (such as going shopping or making phone calls). You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get accustomed to their hearing aids.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will usually try repeating yourself. But try changing the words you use instead of using the same words. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words might be harder to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you use.
  • As much as you can, try to look right into the face of the individual you’re speaking with: For somebody who has hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. Your partner will be able to make use of facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to preserve concentration. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

Hearing assessments are typically non-invasive and quite simple. Usually, you will simply put on a pair of headphones and listen for specific tones. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an important step to more successfully managing symptoms and relationships.

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

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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.