Hearing Loss Doesn’t Need to Negatively Affect Your Relationship

Cropped shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands discussing hearing loss with compassion.

The majority of individuals don’t want to talk about the impact hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s a problem many people cope with. Both partners can feel aggravated by the misunderstandings that are created by hearing loss.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner isn’t it the perfect time to express your love and appreciation for your loved one? Talking about hearing loss together is a great way to do this.

Having “the talk”

A person experiencing untreated hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely risk of experiencing cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. When the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact your whole brain. This is called brain atrophy by doctors. You know how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.

Depression cases are nearly half in individuals who have normal hearing compared to people who have hearing loss. People often become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. This can lead to the person being self isolated from friends and family. They are also likely to stop involving themselves in the activities they used to enjoy as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.

Relationships between family, friends, and others then become strained. Communication issues need to be handled with patients and compassion.

Mystery solved

Your loved one might not be ready to tell you they’re developing hearing loss. They might feel embarrassment and fear. They may be in denial. You might need to do a bit of detective work to figure out when it’s time to have the talk.

Here are some outward cues you will have to depend on because you can’t hear what others are hearing:

  • Watching TV with the volume very high
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
  • Avoiding busy places
  • Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
  • Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
  • Repeated misunderstandings
  • Not hearing significant sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name

Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you detect any of these symptoms.

How to discuss hearing loss

Having this discussion might not be easy. A loved one could become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why discussing hearing loss in the right way is so relevant. The steps will be pretty much the same but perhaps with some slight alterations based on your specific relationship situation.

  • Step 1: Inform them how much you love them without condition and how much you appreciate your relationship.
  • Step 2: You are concerned about their health. You’ve read through the studies. You know that a higher risk of depression and dementia comes along with untreated hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.
  • Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a concern. Your hearing may be harmed by an overly loud TV. Also, your relationship can be impacted, as studies have shown that overly loud noise can trigger anxiety. Your loved one may not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house. People connect with others through emotion. Merely listing facts won’t have as much impact as painting an emotional picture.
  • Step 4: Make an appointment to have your hearing tested together. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t wait.
  • Step 5: Be ready for objections. These could arise anywhere in the process. You know this person. What sort of doubts will they have? Will it be lack of time, or money? Possibly they don’t detect that it’s an issue. They may feel that home remedies will be just fine. (“Natural hearing loss remedies” are not effective and can even be harmful.)

Be prepared with your responses. You might even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s concerns.

Relationship growth

Discussing hearing loss isn’t easy if your partner isn’t willing to talk about it. Openly discussing the effect of hearing loss on your relationship can help to establish a plan to deal with any communication challenges and make sure that both partners are heard and understood. By doing this, your relationship will grow stronger and your loved one will take measures to live a longer, healthier life. And relationships are, after all, about growing together.



The content of this blog is the intellectual property of MedPB.com and is reprinted here with permission. The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a hearing aid consultation, call today to schedule an appointment.