Hearcare  INC., & Associates - Sherman & Gainesville, TX

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas of your day-to-day life. Neglected 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 tense. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent arguments. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in significant ways.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? These challenges occur, in part, because people are often unaware that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is usually a slow-moving and difficult to notice condition. Communication might be tense because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. This can lead to 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 relationships be affected by hearing loss?

It’s really easy to ignore hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. This can lead to significant misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • Arguments: Arguments are rather common in pretty much 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. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as needing things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Feeling ignored: You would probably feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often occur. Feeling as if your partner is not paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the basis of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Increased tension and frustration are often the consequence.
  • It isn’t unusual for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when somebody easily hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. Sometimes, selective hearing is absolutely unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they may begin to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes lead to tension and resentment because one spouse mistakes this for “selective hearing”.

These problems will often begin before anybody is diagnosed with hearing loss. If somebody 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.

Advice for living with someone who has hearing loss

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

  • Patience: This is particularly relevant when you know that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You might have to change the way you talk, like raising your volume for instance. You may also have to speak more slowly. This type of patience can be a challenge, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other chores that cause your partner stress. There also may be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.
  • When you repeat what you said, try using different words: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But instead of using the same words again and again, try changing things up. Certain words may be harder to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss effects 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 regulate their hearing loss. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well managed. In addition, managing 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 manage any of these potential problems.
  • As much as possible, try to look right into the face of the person you’re talking with: For somebody who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance of visual cues. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. 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.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

A hearing test is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. In most circumstances, people who are tested will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise their 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 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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