Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your day-to-day life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Neglected hearing loss, for instance, can affect your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. Communication can become tense for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. This can cause increased stress, more quarrels, and even the growth of animosity. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative effect on your relationship.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? In part, these hardships occur because the parties aren’t aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and difficult to detect condition. As a result, you (and your partner) might not notice that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication issues. Workable solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

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

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

It’s very easy to ignore hearing loss when it first presents. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings because of this. Consequently, there are some common problems that develop:

  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the basis of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties might feel more separated from one another. Increased tension and frustration are often the consequence.
  • Couples often mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when someone hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. Sometimes, selective hearing is absolutely unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. Spouses will frequently start to miss certain words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound garbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Arguments: It’s not unusual for arguments to happen in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will ignite more frequently due to an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as requiring volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Feeling ignored: You would likely feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. This can often occur when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. The long-term health of your relationship can be severely put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being dismissed.

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

Tips for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

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

  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You might have to repeat yourself more often or vary the volume of your voice. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. This type of patience can be a challenge, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over trips to the grocery store or other chores that cause your partner anxiety. There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as frequently as you can: For someone who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance 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 maintain concentration. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have an easier time understanding what you mean.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more effective when hearing loss is well managed. Safety is also an issue with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. You might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better manage any of these potential issues.
  • When you repeat what you said, try utilizing different words: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will usually try repeating yourself. But rather than using the same words again and again, try changing things up. Some words may be harder to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you use.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing test is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most instances, those who undergo tests will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a sound. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Take the hearing loss related tension out of your relationship by encouraging your partner to come see us for a hearing examination.

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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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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