Hearing Services of Nashville

Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas of your daily life. Neglected hearing loss, for instance, can impact your professional life, your favorite pastimes, and even your relationships. For couples who are coping with hearing loss, communication can become strained. 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 are relationships affected by hearing loss? These difficulties occur, in part, because people are usually oblivious that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is normally a slow-moving and hard to recognize condition. Communication may be tense because of hearing loss and you and your partner may not even be aware it’s the root of the problem. Workable solutions may be hard to find as both partners feel increasingly alienated.

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

Can relationships be affected by hearing loss?

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

  • It’s not uncommon for one of the partners to blame hearing loss on “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is when someone easily hears something like “let’s go get some ice cream”, but somehow misses something like “let’s do some spring cleaning”. In some instances, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other cases, it’s quite unintentional. One of the most frequent 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,” causing resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the basis of intimacy. And when that communication breaks down, all parties may feel more separated from one another. Increased tension and frustration are often the consequence.
  • Feeling ignored: You would probably feel like you’re being disregarded if you addressed somebody and they didn’t respond. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is oblivious of it, this can often happen. The long-term health of your relationship can be severely put in jeopardy if you feel like you’re being disregarded.
  • Arguments: Arguments are fairly common in pretty much all relationships. But when hearing loss is present, those arguments can become even more aggravating. For some couples, arguments will break out more often due to an increase in misunderstandings. Hearing loss associated behavioral changes, such as requiring volumes 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. Feelings of resentment may be worse when parties don’t suspect hearing loss is the root problem (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on ignoring their symptoms).

Advice for living with someone who has hearing loss

How do you live with a person who has hearing loss when hearing loss can cause so much conflict? For couples who are willing to formulate new communication strategies, this usually is not a problem. Here are some of those strategies:

  • Patience: This is particularly true when you know that your partner is coping with hearing loss. You might have 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 dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Make use of different words when you repeat yourself: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner fails to hear you. But instead of using the same words over and over again, try changing things up. Hearing loss can affect some frequencies of speech more than others, which means certain words may be more difficult to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you utilize.
  • As much as you can, try to look directly into the face of the individual you’re speaking with: Communicating face-to-face can provide 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 maintain concentration. This supplies your partner with more information to process, and that typically makes it easier to understand your intent.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: This can include things like taking over chores that cause significant anxiety (such as going shopping or making phone calls). There also might be ways you can help your partner get used to their hearing aids and we can help you with that.
  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: We can help your partner control their hearing loss. Many areas of tension will fade away and communication will be more effective when hearing loss is well managed. In addition, treating hearing loss is a safety issue: hearing loss can effect your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. It may also be hard to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get assistance managing any of these potential problems by scheduling an appointment with us.

After you get diagnosed, what happens next?

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

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

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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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