Love and Hearing Loss: Communication Strategies for Couples

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many aspects of your daily life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can affect your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. Communication can become tense for couples who are coping with hearing loss. This can cause increased stress, more arguments, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in substantial ways.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? These challenges happen, in part, because individuals are usually not aware that they even have 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 base cause of your communication problems. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find workable solutions.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early stages, it can be hard to identify. Couples can have significant misunderstandings as a result of this. As a result, there are some common problems that develop:

  • Arguments: It’s not abnormal for arguments to take place in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. Arguments can happen more often too. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, like needing volumes to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when somebody hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very clearly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. In some circumstances, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other cases, it’s quite unintentional. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they may begin to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes result in tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties might feel more distant from one another. Increased tension and frustration are often the consequence.
  • Feeling ignored: You would likely feel like you’re being dismissed if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. This can frequently occur when one partner is experiencing hearing loss and doesn’t know it. The long-term health of your relationship can be seriously put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being dismissed.

These problems will often start before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the core of the problem, or if they are ignoring their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Tips 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? For couples who are willing to establish new communication strategies, this usually isn’t an issue. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Patience: This is especially relevant when you know that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You may need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for example. You may also have to speak more slowly. This kind of patience can be a challenge, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner regulate their hearing loss. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is usually more successful (and many other areas of stress may recede too). In addition, managing hearing loss is a safety concern: hearing loss can effect your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. It may also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help managing any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps you could do things like taking over trips to the grocery store or other chores that cause your partner anxiety. There also might be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as often as you can: For somebody who has hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. 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 an easier time understanding what you mean.
  • Make use of different words when you repeat yourself: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But rather than using the same words again and again, try to change things up. Some words may be more difficult to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing tests are typically non-invasive and quite simple. In most instances, individuals 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 effectively managing symptoms and relationships.

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

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.

Stop struggling to hear conversations. Come see us today. Call or Text