Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Tips for Better Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas 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. This can cause increased stress, more quarrels, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in substantial ways.

So, how does hearing loss impact relationships? 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 hard to detect condition. As a result, you (and your partner) might not detect that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication issues. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find workable solutions.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it can be hard to identify. This can lead to substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common problems can develop because of this:

  • Couples frequently confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when someone hears “we’re having brownies for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow doesn’t 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 mistakes this for “selective hearing”.
  • Arguments: It’s not uncommon for arguments to take place in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more frustrating. Arguments can become more frequent too. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for instance, increasing the volume on the television to painful levels).
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the cornerstone of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties might feel more distant from each other. As a result, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.
  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel ignored. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can often take place. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.

These issues will frequently start before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the problem, or if they are dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could get worse.

Living with a person who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with somebody who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? This will only be an issue for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over chores that cause significant anxiety (such as 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.
  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is especially important. You might have to change the way you talk, like raising your volume for instance. It might also be necessary to speak in a slower cadence. This type of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • As much as you can, try to look right into the face of the person you’re speaking with: Communicating face-to-face can provide a wealth of visual clues for someone with hearing loss. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to preserve concentration. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • 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 controlled. Safety is also a concern with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. You could also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better regulate any of these potential concerns.
  • When you repeat what you said, try utilizing different words: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner fails to hear you. But try changing the words you use instead of using the same words. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words might be harder to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help strengthen your message.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

Hearing tests are generally non-invasive and really simple. Usually, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for specific tones. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

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

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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