Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many areas of your day-to-day life. Neglected hearing loss, for example, can impact your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. Communication can become strained for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent quarrels. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in significant ways.

So, how does hearing loss impact relationships? In part, these hardships arise because the parties are not aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a slowly developing condition. As a result, you (and your partner) may not recognize that hearing loss is the base cause of your communication problems. Workable solutions might be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

Frequently, a diagnosis of hearing loss along with practical strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples start communicating again, and improve their relationships.

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. This can lead to significant misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being dismissed if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. This can frequently happen when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and doesn’t know it. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when somebody easily hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. In some instances, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other cases, it’s quite unintended. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they may start to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes result in tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. As a result, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: Arguments are fairly common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more frustrating. Arguments can become more frequent too. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as needing things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension

These problems will often start before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. If somebody doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the issue, or if they are disregarding their symptoms, feelings of resentment could get worse.

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can create so much conflict in a relationship, how can you live with someone who is dealing with hearing loss? For couples who are willing to develop new communication strategies, this typically isn’t a problem. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But try changing the words you use instead of using the same words. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words might be harder to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help strengthen your message.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other tasks that cause your partner stress. There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as often as you can: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual clues for somebody with hearing loss. 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 provides your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Patience: This is especially true when you know that your partner is coping with hearing loss. You may 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 dramatically 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 well-managed, communication is usually more effective (and many other areas of tension may go away as well). Safety is also a concern with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. It might also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help controlling any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing exam is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. Typically, you will simply put on a pair of headphones and listen for particular tones. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an important step to more successfully managing symptoms and relationships.

Take the hearing loss associated 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.