Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many aspects of your day-to-day life. Untreated hearing loss, for example, can impact your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. Communication can become tense for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. This can cause increased stress, more arguments, and even the development of animosity. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively affect your relationship in significant ways.

So, how does hearing loss effect relationships? In part, these hardships happen because the parties are not aware of the hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and difficult to notice condition. As a result, you (and your partner) may not detect that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication issues. Practical solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel more and more alienated.

Frequently, a diagnosis of hearing loss along with practical strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples start communicating again, and better their relationships.

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

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

  • Arguments: Arguments are fairly common in pretty much all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will ignite more frequently due to an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, such as requiring things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • It isn’t uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “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 cases, selective hearing is absolutely unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious choice. One of the most frequent effects of hearing loss on a partner is that they may begin to miss words or certain phrases will seem garbled. This can sometimes result in tension and resentment because one spouse confuses this for “selective hearing”.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In many relationships, communication is the cornerstone of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. As a result, hearing loss might introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.
  • 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 experiencing hearing loss and doesn’t know it. The long-term health of your relationship can be severely put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being dismissed.

Often, this friction begins to occur before any formal diagnosis of hearing loss. If somebody doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the problem, or if they are ignoring their symptoms, feelings of resentment could be worse.

Advice for living with someone who is dealing with hearing loss

If hearing loss can create so much conflict in a relationship, how can you live with someone who has hearing loss? For couples who are willing to formulate new communication techniques, this typically is not a problem. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Patience: When you recognize that your partner has hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You might need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. You may also have to talk more slowly. This kind of patience can be a challenge, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • When you repeat what you said, try using different words: When your partner doesn’t hear what you said, you will typically try repeating yourself. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Some words might be harder to hear than others depending on what frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Changing your word choice can help strengthen your message.
  • 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. You can also ask your partner’s hearing specialist if there are ways you can help them get accustomed to their hearing aids.
  • As much as possible, try to look right into the face of the person you’re speaking with: For someone who is dealing with hearing loss, face-to-face communication can give an abundance of visual cues. Your partner will be able to make use of facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to preserve concentration. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be controlled with our help. Many areas of stress will fade away and communication will be more successful when hearing loss is well managed. Safety is also a concern with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. You might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help controlling any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

Hearing examinations are generally non-invasive and quite simple. In most instances, those who undergo tests will do little more than wear specialized headphones and raise their hand when they hear a sound. But a hearing loss diagnosis can be an essential step to more effectively managing symptoms and relationships.

Take the hearing loss related 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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