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Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your daily life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Neglected hearing loss, for example, can affect your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. For couples who are struggling with hearing loss, communication can become strained. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in substantial ways.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? These challenges happen, in part, because individuals are usually unaware that they even have hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a slowly advancing condition. As a result, you (and your partner) may not detect that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication issues. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find workable solutions.

Frequently, a diagnosis of hearing loss coupled with helpful strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples start communicating again, and improve their relationships.

Can relationships be impacted by hearing loss?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it’s difficult to detect. Couples can have significant misunderstandings as a result of this. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • Arguments: Arguments are rather common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will ignite more often due to an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for example, boosting the volume on the television to painful levels).
  • 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 frequently 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: In many relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties might feel more distant from each other. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the consequence.
  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. In some circumstances, selective hearing is a conscious action, in other cases, it’s quite unintended. Spouses will frequently begin to miss certain words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound jumbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can sometimes result in tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.

These issues will often start before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of resentment may be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the root issue (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on ignoring their symptoms).

Advice for living with someone who has hearing loss

If hearing loss can cause so much conflict in a relationship, how can you live with someone who is dealing with hearing loss? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to formulate new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as possible: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual clues for somebody 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. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You might have to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for example. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • 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). There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner manage their hearing loss. When hearing loss is under control, communication is usually more effective (and many other areas of stress may go away also). 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 control any of these potential problems.
  • Use different words when you repeat yourself: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner fails to hear you. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words might be harder to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you utilize.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing test is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. In most cases, people who are tested will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a sound. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an essential step to more successfully managing symptoms and relationships.

Encouraging your partner to touch base with us can help ensure that hearing loss doesn’t undermine your happiness or your partnership.

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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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