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Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many areas of your day-to-day life. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be affected by hearing loss, for instance. Communication can become strained for couples who are coping 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 significant ways.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? These difficulties happen, in part, because people are often oblivious that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is usually a slow-moving and hard to notice condition. Communication might be tense because of hearing loss and you and your partner might not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. Workable solutions might be difficult to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

Frequently, a diagnosis of hearing loss along with practical strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples begin communicating again, and better their relationships.

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

When hearing loss is in the early stages, it can be hard to identify. This can result in significant misunderstandings between couples. As a result, there are some common problems that develop:

  • Couples often mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when someone easily hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. In some cases, selective hearing is totally unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. Spouses will often begin to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound garbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” causing 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 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 disregarded.
  • Arguments: Arguments are fairly common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more frustrating. For some couples, arguments will erupt more often because of an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, like needing volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties may feel more separated from one another. Consequently, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, ultimately causing more frustration and tension.

Often, this friction begins to occur before any formal diagnosis of hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the problem, or if they are ignoring their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Living with a person who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can create so much conflict in a relationship, how do you live with someone who has hearing loss? For couples who are willing to formulate new communication techniques, this usually isn’t a problem. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Make use of different words when you repeat yourself: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will typically try repeating yourself. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Some words might be more difficult to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you use.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner control their hearing loss. 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. It may also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better regulate any of these potential concerns.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over tasks that cause significant anxiety (such as 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 accustomed to their hearing aids.
  • Patience: This is especially relevant when you recognize that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You might have to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for example. It may also be necessary to speak in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be significantly improved by practicing this kind of patience.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as frequently as possible: For somebody who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance of visual cues. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. 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.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing assessments are generally non-invasive and quite simple. In most circumstances, individuals who undergo tests will do little more than wear 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 related tension out of your relationship by encouraging your partner to come see us for a hearing exam.

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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.
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