Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Many aspects of your daily life can be affected by Hearing Loss. Your hobbies, your professional life, and even your love life can be affected by hearing loss, for instance. Communication can become tense for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent arguments. If untreated, in other words, hearing loss can have a substantially negative impact on your relationship.

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

Relationships can be helped and communication can start to be repaired when hearing loss is diagnosed and couples get practical solutions from us.

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

It’s very easy to ignore hearing loss when it initially begins to develop. This can result in substantial misunderstandings between couples. The following common problems can develop as a result:

  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel disregarded. This can frequently occur when one partner is suffering from hearing loss and doesn’t know it. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • It isn’t uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody hears “we’re having cake for dessert” very clearly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. Sometimes, selective hearing is absolutely unintentional, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. Spouses will often begin to miss certain words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound jumbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can sometimes result in tension and resentment because one spouse mistakes this for “selective hearing”.
  • Arguments: It isn’t unusual for arguments to take place in a relationship, at least, occasionally. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. Arguments can become more frequent too. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, like needing things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is often the foundation of intimacy. This can cause a rift to build up between the partners. Increased tension and frustration are often the result.

Often, this friction starts to happen before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. Feelings of bitterness might be worse when parties don’t know hearing loss is the root problem (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on dismissing their symptoms).

Living with a person 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 a problem. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Patience: This is particularly relevant when you recognize that your partner is struggling with hearing loss. You might have to repeat yourself more frequently or raise the volume of your voice. It might also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. This type of patience can be challenging, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • As much as you can, try to look directly into the face of the person you’re speaking with: Communicating face-to-face can supply a wealth of visual clues for someone with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. And with increased eye contact it will be easier to preserve 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: We can help your partner regulate their hearing loss. 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. You might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. We can help your partner better manage any of these potential concerns.
  • Make use of different words when you repeat yourself: Usually, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But try changing the words you use rather than 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 strengthened by changing the words you use.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over trips to the grocery store or other tasks that cause your partner stress. There also may 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?

Hearing tests are typically non-invasive and really simple. Usually, you will simply put on a pair of headphones and listen for particular tones. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

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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