Love and Hearing Loss: Communication Strategies for Couples

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many aspects of your day-to-day life. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can impact your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. For couples who are coping with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased tension, more arguments, and even the growth of animosity. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in substantial ways.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? These challenges arise, in part, because individuals are usually not aware that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and difficult to detect condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) may not recognize that hearing loss is the base cause of your communication issues. Practical solutions may be hard to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

Relationships can be improved and communication can start to be repaired when hearing loss is diagnosed and couples get reliable solutions from us.

Can relationships be impacted by hearing loss?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it first presents. This can result in significant misunderstandings between couples. Consequently, there are a few common problems that develop:

  • Arguments: Arguments are pretty common in almost all relationships. But arguments will be even more aggravating when one or both partners are dealing with hearing loss. For some couples, arguments will break out 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
  • Feeling ignored: You would probably feel like you’re being dismissed if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can frequently occur. Feeling as if your partner is not paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • 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.
  • It isn’t 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 instances, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they may start to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” leading to resentment and tension in the relationship.

These problems will often start before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of resentment might be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the core problem (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on disregarding 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 result in so much conflict? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to formulate new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • When you repeat what you said, try making use of different words: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will usually try repeating yourself. But rather than using the same words again and again, try to change things up. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words might be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other tasks that cause your partner stress. You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get used to their hearing aids.
  • 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 effective when hearing loss is well managed. 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. You might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get assistance controlling any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as you can: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual cues 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. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Patience: This is particularly true when you recognize that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You might need to change the way you talk, like raising your volume for example. You might also have to speak more slowly. The effectiveness of your communication can be dramatically improved by exercising this kind of patience.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

Hearing assessments are typically non-invasive and quite simple. Typically, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for particular tones. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an important step to more effectively managing symptoms and relationships.

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