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Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your daily life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Neglected hearing loss, for example, 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 tension, more quarrels, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in substantial ways.

So, how does hearing loss impact relationships? These challenges arise, in part, because people are often unaware that they even have hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a gradually advancing condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) may not notice that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication problems. 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 effective solutions from us.

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it can be hard to identify. This can result in substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common problems 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 separated from each other. Increased tension and frustration are often the result.
  • Couples often mistake 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”. Sometimes, selective hearing is absolutely unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they may begin to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Arguments: Arguments are pretty common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more frustrating. For some couples, arguments will ignite more frequently due to an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for example, increasing the volume on the television to painful levels).
  • Feeling ignored: You would likely feel like you’re being ignored if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. This can frequently 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 often begin 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).

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with a person who has hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? This will only be an issue for couples who aren’t willing to develop new communication strategies. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • As much as possible, try to look directly into the face of the person you’re talking with: Communicating face-to-face can provide a wealth of visual cues for someone with hearing loss. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to maintain concentration. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: 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. Some words may be harder to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you utilize.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. Many areas of stress will fade away and communication will be more effective when hearing loss is well controlled. 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. Your partner can get help managing any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You might need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. It might also be necessary to speak in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be substantially improved by exercising this kind of patience.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over tasks that cause significant anxiety (like going to the grocery store or making phone calls). You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get used to their hearing aids.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

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

Encouraging your partner to touch base with us can help ensure that hearing loss doesn’t undermine your happiness or your partnership.

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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.