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Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many aspects of your day-to-day life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Neglected hearing loss, for example, can impact your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. Communication can become strained for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. This can cause increased tension, more arguments, and even the development of animosity. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative effect on your relationship.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? In part, these hardships happen because the individuals are not aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is usually a slow-moving and difficult to notice condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) may not notice that hearing loss is the base cause of your communication problems. This can lead to both partners feeling alienated and can make it difficult to find practical solutions.

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

Can relationships be impacted by hearing loss?

When hearing loss is in the early stages, it’s difficult to detect. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings because of this. The following common issues can develop because of this:

  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel disregarded. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often happen. The long-term health of your relationship can be seriously put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being disregarded.
  • It isn’t uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when someone 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 unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. Spouses will frequently start to miss certain words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound jumbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” resulting in resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the basis of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Consequently, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • Arguments: It’s not unusual for arguments to occur 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 become more frequent too. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for example, boosting the volume on the television to painful levels).

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 dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Living with a person who is dealing with loss of hearing

If hearing loss can lead to so much conflict in a relationship, how can you live with someone who is dealing with hearing loss? This will only be an issue for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • As much as possible, try to look right into the face of the person you’re talking with: For someone who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a less difficult time understanding what you mean.
  • Patience: This is especially true when you recognize that your partner is dealing with hearing loss. You may have to change the way you talk, like raising your volume for example. It might also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be significantly improved by exercising this type of patience.
  • Use different words when you repeat yourself: When your partner doesn’t understand what you said, you will usually try repeating yourself. But try changing the words you use instead of using the same words. 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). Changing your word choice can help reinforce your message.
  • 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 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. You might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help controlling any of these potential problems 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 tasks that cause your partner anxiety. There also might be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing examination is a fairly simple, non-invasive experience. Typically, 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 successfully managing symptoms and relationships.

Take the hearing loss associated 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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