Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Strategies for Better Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your daily life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Your pastimes, your professional life, and even your love life can be impacted by hearing loss, for instance. Communication can become strained for couples who are coping with hearing loss. 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 does hearing loss impact relationships? In part, these difficulties occur because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is normally a slow-moving and difficult to notice condition. Communication may be strained because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. This can lead to both partners feeling alienated and can make it difficult to find workable solutions.

Relationships can be helped and communication can start to be mended 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. Couples can have significant misunderstandings as a result of this. The following common issues can develop because of this:

  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties may feel more distant from one another. Increased tension and frustration are often the result.
  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel dismissed. This can frequently occur when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and doesn’t know it. Feeling as if your partner is not paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: It isn’t uncommon for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more frustrating. For some couples, arguments will erupt more frequently because of an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a result of changes in behavior (for example, boosting the volume on the television to painful volumes).
  • It isn’t uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when someone hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. Sometimes, selective hearing is totally unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they may begin to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” leading to resentment and tension in the relationship.

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

Advice for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

How do you live with a person who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? For couples who are willing to establish new communication strategies, this typically is not a problem. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Patience: This is especially relevant when you know that your partner is coping with hearing loss. You may have to repeat yourself more frequently or raise the volume of your voice. You might also have to talk more slowly. This type of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner regulate their hearing loss. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is typically more effective (and many other areas of tension may go away as well). Additionally, managing hearing loss is a safety issue: hearing loss can impact your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. You might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better manage any of these potential problems.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks that cause substantial stress (like going shopping or making phone calls). There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: Normally, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try to change things up. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words might be harder to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you use.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as often as you can: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual clues for somebody with hearing loss. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing exam is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most cases, those who undergo tests 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 ensure that hearing loss doesn’t sabotage 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.