Gilberts Audiology & Hearing Aid Center - Oklahoma

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many aspects of your day-to-day life. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be impacted by hearing loss, for example. For couples who are coping with hearing loss, communication can become strained. This can cause increased tension, more arguments, and even the growth of animosity. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative impact on your relationship.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? These challenges occur, in part, because people are often not aware that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and hard to recognize condition. Communication might be strained because of hearing loss and you and your partner might not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. Workable solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

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

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

It’s very easy to disregard hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. This can result in substantial misunderstandings between couples. Consequently, there are some common issues that develop:

  • 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. Increased tension and frustration are often the result.
  • Feeling ignored: You would likely feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can frequently happen. The long-term health of your relationship can be seriously put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being disregarded.
  • Couples often mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when someone effortlessly hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. In some circumstances, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other cases, it’s quite unintended. Spouses will frequently begin to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound garbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” leading to resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Arguments: It’s not abnormal for arguments to happen in a relationship, at least, sometimes. But arguments will be even more aggravating when one or both partners are dealing with hearing loss. Arguments can happen more often too. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as needing things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension

Often, 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 dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Living with somebody who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with somebody who has hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? For couples who are willing to formulate new communication strategies, this usually isn’t a problem. Here are a few of those strategies:

  • Patience: This is particularly true when you know that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You might have to repeat yourself more often or vary the volume of your voice. It may also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be dramatically improved by exercising this kind of patience.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over chores that cause significant stress (like going to the grocery store 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.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as you can: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual clues for someone with hearing loss. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. 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.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more effective when hearing loss is well controlled. Additionally, managing hearing loss is a safety concern: hearing loss can impact your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. It might also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better regulate any of these potential concerns.
  • Use different words when you repeat yourself: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try to change things up. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words might be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you use.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

Hearing examinations are typically non-invasive and quite simple. Typically, you will simply put on a set of headphones and listen for particular tones. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Encouraging your partner to get in touch with us can help ensure that hearing loss doesn’t sabotage 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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