Love and Hearing Loss – Couples Tips for Stronger Communication

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many facets of your day-to-day life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be affected by hearing loss, for example. Communication can become strained for couples who are coping with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent arguments. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in significant ways.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? These difficulties arise, in part, because individuals are often unaware that they even have hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a gradually advancing condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) might not recognize that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication issues. Practical solutions might be hard to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

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

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

It’s really easy to overlook hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings as a result of this. As a result, there are a few common issues that develop:

  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. This can frequently occur when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. Feeling like your partner is not paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • Couples frequently 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 totally unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. Spouses will often start to miss certain 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”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. As a result, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: It’s not uncommon for arguments to happen in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But arguments will be even more frustrating when one or both partners are dealing with hearing loss. For some couples, arguments will break out more frequently because of an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as needing things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension

These problems will often begin before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness might be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the core problem (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on disregarding their symptoms).

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can create so much conflict in a relationship, how do you live with someone who has hearing loss? For couples who are willing to develop new communication strategies, this typically is not a problem. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • 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. Additionally, 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. It might also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better control any of these potential issues.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as often as possible: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual clues for someone with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to read 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 a simpler time understanding what you mean.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over tasks 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.
  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner has hearing loss, patience is especially important. You may have to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for example. You may also have to talk more slowly. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • When you repeat what you said, try using different words: 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 impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words may be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

Hearing assessments are typically non-invasive and really simple. In most cases, those who are tested will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a tone. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

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

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.