Love and Hearing Loss - Couples Strategies for Better 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 tense for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased stress and more frequent arguments. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a significantly negative impact on your relationship.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? These difficulties occur, 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 recognize condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) might not detect that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication problems. Workable solutions might be hard to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

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 hearing loss affect relationships?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it first presents. This can result in significant misunderstandings between couples. The following common issues can develop because of this:

  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when somebody hears “we’re having brownies for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some instances, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other instances, it’s quite unintentional. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they might start to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” causing resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Arguments: It’s not uncommon for arguments to occur in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will erupt more frequently because of an increase in misunderstandings. For others, an increase in arguments could be a consequence of changes in behavior (for instance, boosting the volume on the television to painful volumes).
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties may feel more separated from each other. Increased tension and frustration are often the consequence.
  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel dismissed. This can often occur when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and isn’t aware of it. The long-term health of your relationship can be seriously put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being dismissed.

In many cases, this friction begins to happen before any formal diagnosis of hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the problem, or if they are disregarding their symptoms, feelings of resentment could get worse.

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 is dealing with hearing loss? For couples who are willing to formulate new communication techniques, this typically is not an issue. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Patience: This is especially true when you know that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You may have to repeat yourself more often or raise the volume of your voice. You may also have to speak more slowly. The effectiveness of your communication can be substantially 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 substantial anxiety (such as going to the grocery store or making phone calls). You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get used to their hearing aids.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: When your partner doesn’t understand what you said, you will normally try repeating yourself. But try switching the words you use rather than using the same words. Hearing loss can affect 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 strengthened by changing the words you use.
  • As much as you can, try to look right into the face of the person you’re talking with: For someone who has hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots of visual cues. You will be supplying 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 successful when hearing loss is well managed. Safety is also an issue with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. It might also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help managing any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing exam is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most cases, individuals who undergo tests will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a sound. 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 guarantee that hearing loss doesn’t sabotage your happiness or your partnership.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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.

Why wait? You don’t have to live with hearing loss. Call or Text Us