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. Neglected hearing loss, for example, can impact your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. Communication can become tense for couples who are coping 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? These difficulties arise, in part, because people are usually unaware that they even have hearing loss. Hearing loss typically is, after all, a slowly 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 issue. Workable solutions may be hard to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

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 really easy to disregard hearing loss when it first presents. This can result in substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • It isn’t unusual for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when someone effortlessly 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 unintentional. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they may begin to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Feeling ignored: You would likely feel like you’re being ignored 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 is not paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: It isn’t abnormal for arguments to happen in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more aggravating. Arguments can become more frequent too. Hearing loss associated behavioral changes, like needing things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. As a result, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.

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

Advice 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 cause so much conflict? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Here are some of those strategies:

  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well controlled. In addition, treating hearing loss is a safety concern: hearing loss can effect your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. It may also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help managing any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as often as you can: For somebody who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to maintain concentration. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have an easier time understanding what you mean.
  • Make use of different words when you repeat yourself: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Some words may be more difficult to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you use.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps you could do things like taking over trips to the grocery store or other tasks that cause your partner stress. There also might be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • Patience: This is especially true when you know that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You might need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. You might also have to speak more slowly. This type of patience can be challenging, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

A hearing exam is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most circumstances, people who are tested will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise their hand when they hear a sound. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Take the hearing loss associated tension out of your relationship by encouraging your partner to come see us for a hearing test.

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.

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