Audiology & Hearing Care of SWFL - Bonita Springs, FL

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas of your daily life. 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. This can cause increased stress, more disputes, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in substantial ways.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? In part, these difficulties happen because the parties aren’t aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is normally a slow-moving and difficult to notice condition. Consequently, you (and your partner) might not notice that hearing loss is the root cause of your communication problems. Workable solutions may be hard to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

Relationships can be improved and communication can begin to be mended when hearing loss is diagnosed and couples get practical solutions from us.

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

When hearing loss is in the early phases, it can be hard to identify. This can lead to substantial misunderstandings between couples. Consequently, there are some common problems that develop:

  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the result.
  • 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. Feeling as if your partner is not paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: Arguments are fairly common in almost all relationships. But arguments will be even more frustrating when one or both partners have hearing loss. Arguments can become more frequent too. 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).
  • Couples often mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when someone easily 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 a conscious behavior, in other cases, it’s quite unintended. Spouses will often start to miss particular 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 mistakes this for “selective hearing”.

In many cases, this friction starts to happen before any formal diagnosis of hearing loss. Feelings of resentment might be worse when parties don’t know hearing loss is the root issue (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on ignoring their symptoms).

Tips for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

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

  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. When hearing loss is under control, communication is typically more successful (and many other areas of tension may recede too). Additionally, managing hearing loss is a safety issue: hearing loss can impact your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. You could also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better regulate any of these potential issues.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can consist of things like taking over chores that cause substantial stress (like 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.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as frequently as possible: For somebody who has hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give lots 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. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has hearing loss, patience is especially important. You may have to change the way you talk, like raising your volume for instance. You might also have to speak more slowly. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Utilize different words when you repeat yourself: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But rather than using the same words again and again, try to change things up. Certain words may be more difficult to hear than others depending on which frequencies your hearing loss impact most. Your message can be strengthened by changing the words you use.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

A hearing examination is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most cases, people who are tested will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a tone. You will be better able to manage 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.

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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.