Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Tips for Better Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many aspects of your day-to-day life. 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 dealing with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. If ignored, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative impact on your relationship.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? In part, these hardships occur because the parties aren’t aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is usually a slow-moving and difficult to notice condition. As a result, you (and your partner) may not detect that hearing loss is the base cause of your communication problems. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find workable solutions.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it first presents. Couples can have significant misunderstandings as a result of this. Consequently, there are some common issues that develop:

  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when somebody 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 absolutely unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. Spouses will often start to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound jumbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Feeling ignored: You would likely feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often happen. 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 often because of an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, like requiring volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the basis of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Consequently, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.

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

Tips for living with someone who has hearing loss

If hearing loss can create so much conflict in a relationship, how do you live with someone who is dealing with hearing loss? For couples who are willing to formulate new communication strategies, this typically is not a problem. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner manage their hearing loss. When hearing loss is under control, communication is typically more successful (and many other areas of stress may recede as well). Additionally, managing hearing loss is a safety issue: hearing loss can effect your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. It may also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help controlling any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over chores that cause significant stress (like going to the grocery store or making phone calls). There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is especially important. You may have to change the way you talk, like raising your volume for example. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be substantially improved by practicing this kind of patience.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But try switching the words you use rather than using the same words. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words may be harder to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help strengthen your message.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as possible: Communicating face-to-face can provide a wealth of visual clues for somebody with hearing loss. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a simpler time understanding what you mean.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing exam is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most circumstances, individuals who are tested will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a tone. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an important step to more successfully managing symptoms and relationships.

Encouraging your partner to get in touch with us can help guarantee 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.