Cropped shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands discussing hearing loss with compassion.

The majority of people don’t want to talk about the effect hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s an issue many people cope with. Hearing loss can cause communication barriers that result in misunderstandings and frustration for both partners.
This is the perfect time for you to express your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. Discussing hearing loss together is an ideal way to do this.

Having “the talk”

Studies have revealed that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that will inevitably impact the entire brain will be caused when the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged. Doctors call this brain atrophy. You remember how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.

Depression cases are almost half in people who have healthy hearing compared to people who have hearing loss. Studies have shown that as a person’s hearing loss progresses, they frequently become anxious and agitated. The individual may begin to separate themselves from friends and family. They are also likely to avoid getting involved in the activities they used to enjoy as they sink deeper into a state of depression.

This, as a result, can lead to relationship stress among mother and son, daughter and father, close friends, spouses, and other people in this person’s life. Communication problems need to be managed with patients and compassion.

Mystery solved

Someone who is developing hearing loss might not be ready to discuss it. They may be afraid or embarrassed. Denial may have set in. You may need to do a bit of detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.

Here are a few external cues you will need to depend on because you can’t hear what other people are hearing:

  • Watching television with the volume really high
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
  • Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
  • Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
  • Avoiding busy places
  • Failing to hear alarms, doorbells, and other essential sounds

Watch for these prevalent symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart chat with your loved one.

What is the best way to discuss hearing loss?

This discussion might not be an easy one to have. A loved one may become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why it’s important to discuss hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. You might need to alter your language based on your unique relationship, but the strategies will be basically the same.

  • Step 1: Tell them how much you love them unconditionally and how much you value your relationship.
  • Step 2: The state of their health is important to you. You’ve seen the research. You know that an increased risk of depression and dementia comes along with untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to experience that.
  • Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a concern. Your hearing could be harmed by an overly loud TV. Also, your relationship can be impacted, as studies have revealed that overly loud noise can trigger anxiety. If you have an intruder in your house or you’ve fallen down, your partner may not hear you calling for help. Emotion is a strong way to connect with others. Simply listing facts won’t have as much impact as painting an emotional picture.
  • Step 4: Schedule an appointment to have your hearing tested together. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t wait.
  • Step 5: Be ready for objections. These could arise anywhere in the process. You know this person. What sort of doubts will they have? Will it be lack of time, or money? Doesn’t notice an issue? They may feel that home remedies will be good enough. (You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.)

Have your answers prepared ahead of time. Even a bit of practice can’t hurt. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s worries.

Relationship growth

If your partner is unwilling to talk about their hearing loss, it can be challenging. Developing a plan to tackle potential communication challenges and the impact hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their concerns will be heard and understood. By having this talk, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment


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.