Love and Hearing Loss: Communication Tips for Couples

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can affect many areas of your daily life. Untreated hearing loss, for instance, can affect your professional life, your favorite hobbies, and even your relationships. For couples who are coping with hearing loss, communication can become strained. Animosity can develop from the increased tension and more frequent quarrels. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in substantial ways.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? These difficulties arise, in part, because individuals are often not aware that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and difficult to detect condition. Communication may be strained because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. Practical solutions may be difficult to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

Often, a diagnosis of hearing loss coupled with helpful strategies from a hearing specialist can help couples begin communicating again, and better their relationships.

Can hearing loss impact relationships?

It’s really easy to disregard hearing loss when it first presents. This can lead to substantial misunderstandings between couples. As a result, there are a few common problems that develop:

  • Arguments: Arguments are rather common in pretty much all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can be even more aggravating. 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).
  • Feeling ignored: When somebody doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel ignored. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can frequently occur. The long-term health of your relationship can be seriously put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being disregarded.
  • Couples often mistake hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what occurs when someone hears “we’re having brownies for dessert” very clearly, but somehow doesn’t hear “we need to take out the trash before we eat”. Sometimes, selective hearing is totally unintended, and in others, it can be a conscious decision. Spouses will frequently begin to miss particular words or phrases or these words and phrases will sound jumbled when one of them has hearing loss. This can frequently be mistaken for “selective hearing,” leading to resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Intimacy may suffer: In lots of relationships, communication is the foundation of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties may feel more separated from one another. Consequently, hearing loss may introduce friction throughout the relationship, causing more frustration and tension.

These problems will often start before anyone is diagnosed with hearing loss. If someone doesn’t know that hearing loss is at the root of the issue, or if they are dismissing their symptoms, feelings of resentment could get worse.

Tips for living with someone who has hearing loss

If hearing loss can lead to so much conflict in a relationship, how can you live with someone who has hearing loss? This will only be an issue for couples who aren’t willing to develop new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Maybe you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other chores that cause your partner stress. There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • Try to communicate face-to-face as frequently as possible: Communicating face-to-face can furnish a wealth of visual clues for somebody with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to make use of facial cues and body language. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a less difficult time understanding what you mean.
  • When you repeat what you said, try utilizing different words: When your partner doesn’t understand what you said, you will typically try repeating yourself. 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 what frequencies your hearing loss effects most. Changing your word choice can help strengthen your message.
  • 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 generally more successful (and many other areas of tension may recede as well). Safety is also a concern with hearing loss because it can cause you to fail to hear the doorbell, phone, and smoke alarm. It may also be difficult to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help controlling any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner has hearing loss, patience is especially important. You may need to change the way you speak, like raising your volume for instance. It might also be necessary to talk in a slower cadence. The effectiveness of your communication can be dramatically improved by exercising this kind of patience.

After you get diagnosed, then what?

A hearing exam is a relatively simple, non-invasive experience. In most instances, individuals who undergo tests will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise their hand when they hear a sound. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Encouraging your partner to touch base with us can help guarantee that hearing loss doesn’t sabotage your happiness or your partnership.

The content of this blog is the intellectual property of 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.