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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. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can affect your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. For couples who are coping with hearing loss, communication can become strained. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative effect on your relationship.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? These challenges happen, in part, because people are usually unaware that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is usually a slow-moving and hard to notice condition. Communication may be strained because of hearing loss and you and your partner might not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. This can lead to both partners feeling alienated and can make it difficult to find workable solutions.

Relationships can be improved and communication can begin to be repaired when hearing loss is diagnosed and couples get reliable solutions from us.

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it’s difficult to detect. This can result in significant misunderstandings between couples. Consequently, there are a few common problems that develop:

  • Feeling ignored: You would likely feel like you’re being ignored if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. This can often 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 pretty much all relationships. But arguments will be even more frustrating when one or both partners are dealing with hearing loss. For some couples, arguments will erupt more frequently because of an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss associated 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 foundation of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties may feel more distant from one another. As a result, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs 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 cases, selective hearing is absolutely unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they might start to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” causing resentment and tension in the relationship.

In many cases, this friction begins to occur before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the core of the issue, or if they are ignoring their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Advice for living with someone who has hearing loss

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 formulate new communication strategies. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has 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 talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be dramatically improved by exercising this type of patience.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner control their hearing loss. When hearing loss is well-managed, communication is generally more effective (and many other areas of tension may go away also). In addition, treating hearing loss is a safety issue: hearing loss can effect your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. You might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better regulate any of these potential issues.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as often as you can: For someone who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance of visual cues. Your partner will be able to make use of facial cues and body language. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have an easier time understanding what you mean.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other chores that cause your partner stress. There also might be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But rather than using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Some words might be harder to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

Hearing examinations are generally non-invasive and quite simple. Usually, you will simply put on a pair of headphones and listen for particular tones. 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 examination.

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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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