Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Tips for Stronger Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many aspects of your daily life. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be impacted by hearing loss, for instance. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased tension, more disputes, and even the growth of animosity. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in substantial ways.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? In part, these tribulations occur because the parties are not aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and hard to detect condition. As a result, you (and your partner) may not recognize that hearing loss is the base cause of your communication problems. Workable solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

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

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

It’s really easy to overlook hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. Couples can have considerable misunderstandings as a result of this. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • Couples often mistake hearing loss for “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 cases, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other cases, it’s quite unintentional. Spouses will often start to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound garbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being ignored if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can often occur. The long-term health of your relationship can be seriously put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being ignored.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties may feel more distant from each other. Consequently, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: It isn’t uncommon for arguments to happen in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will erupt more frequently due to an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a result of changes in behavior (for instance, boosting the volume on the television to painful volumes).

In many cases, this friction begins to occur before any formal diagnosis of hearing loss. Feelings of resentment may be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the root problem (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on ignoring their symptoms).

Advice for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

How do you live with somebody who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can create 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:

  • Patience: This is especially true when you know that your partner is coping with hearing loss. You may have to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. You might also have to speak more slowly. The effectiveness of your communication can be dramatically improved by practicing this kind of patience.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner regulate their hearing loss. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more effective 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 regulate any of these potential issues.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as frequently as you can: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual cues for someone with hearing loss. You will be supplying your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a less difficult time understanding what you mean.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over chores that cause significant stress (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.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner fails to hear you. But rather than using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words may be harder to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

A hearing examination is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. In most cases, those who undergo tests will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a tone. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be a significant step to more effectively managing symptoms and relationships.

Take the hearing loss associated 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.