Hearing Associates of Libertyville, IL

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many aspects of your daily life can be impacted by Hearing Loss. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be impacted by hearing loss, for instance. Communication can become strained for couples who are coping with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. In other words, left unchecked, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in significant ways.

So how are relationships affected by hearing loss? In part, these hardships arise because the individuals aren’t aware of the hearing loss. Hearing loss usually is, after all, a slowly developing condition. Communication might be strained because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the issue. Workable solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more 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 relationships be affected by hearing loss?

When hearing loss is in the early stages, it can be hard to identify. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings because of this. The following common issues can develop as a result:

  • Feeling ignored: You would most likely feel like you’re being ignored if you addressed someone and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can often occur. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you isn’t good for long-term relationship health.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In many 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.
  • Couples often mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very distinctly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is absolutely unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they might begin to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” leading to resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Arguments: Arguments are pretty common in almost all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more frustrating. Arguments can become more frequent too. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as requiring things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension

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

Tips for living with someone who has hearing loss

How do you live with somebody who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can result in so much conflict? This will only be an issue for couples who aren’t willing to establish new communication strategies. Here are some of those strategies:

  • 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 instead of using the same words. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words might be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you use.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other tasks that cause your partner stress. You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get used to their hearing aids.
  • Patience: This is especially true when you recognize that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You may have to repeat yourself more frequently or vary the volume of your voice. It might also be necessary to speak in a slower cadence. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • 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 stress may recede as well). Safety is also an issue with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. It may also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help controlling any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as frequently as possible: For somebody who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance of visual cues. You will be providing your partner with body language and facial cues. It’s also easier to maintain concentration and eye contact. This provides your partner with more information to process, and that usually makes it easier to understand your intent.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

Hearing tests are typically non-invasive and really simple. In most cases, people who undergo tests will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a sound. 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 assessment.

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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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