Love and Hearing Loss: Communication Strategies for Couples

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many aspects of your day-to-day life. Untreated hearing loss, for instance, can impact your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become tense. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. If ignored, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative impact on your relationship.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? In part, these tribulations occur because the parties aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a gradually advancing condition. Communication might be tense because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. This can lead to both partners feeling alienated and can make it difficult to find practical 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 impact relationships?

It’s very easy to overlook hearing loss when it first presents. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings as a result of this. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel disregarded. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can frequently take place. Feeling like your partner is not paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties may feel more distant from each other. Increased tension and frustration are often the consequence.
  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when somebody effortlessly hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. In some circumstances, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. Spouses will often begin 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,” leading to 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. Arguments can happen more often too. Hearing loss associated behavioral changes, like requiring things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension

Often, this friction starts to occur before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. If somebody doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the core of the problem, or if they are disregarding their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Tips for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

How do you live with a person who has hearing loss when hearing loss can result in so much conflict? For couples who are willing to develop new communication strategies, this usually is not an issue. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • When you repeat what you said, try utilizing different words: Normally, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner fails to hear you. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try to change things up. Some words might be harder to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. Many areas of stress will fade away and communication will be more successful 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. It might also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better control any of these potential issues.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has hearing loss, patience is especially important. You may have to repeat yourself more frequently or raise the volume of your voice. You might also have to talk more slowly. The effectiveness of your communication can be dramatically improved by exercising this kind of patience.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks that cause substantial stress (like going shopping 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.
  • As much as possible, try to look right into the face of the individual you’re talking with: For somebody who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. Your partner will be able to make use of facial cues and body language. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have an easier time understanding what you mean.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

Hearing assessments are typically non-invasive and quite simple. Typically, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for particular tones. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Encouraging your partner to touch base 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.