Don't Let Hearing Loss Damage Your Relationship
Many hearing care professionals have expressed that part of their job involves mediating conflicts between couples for which hearing loss is present. Denial is a very common response when accusations of hearing loss are made, and many people will mistake their partner’s physical condition as neglect. In fact, it is often the hearing partner who reports feeling lonely and ignored in a relationship.
Even without hearing loss, communication can be one of the most difficult elements of a relationship. When the ability to comprehend and listen carefully are inhibited, it can cause frustration for both partners. One study found that nearly 44 percent of those over the age of 55 reported their romantic relationships had suffered because of hearing loss. This is probably not that surprising, as anyone is likely to feel unappreciated or unloved if they feel that their voice is, quite literally, not heard. Fortunately, the same survey also revealed that for more than half of those surveyed, being fitted with hearing aids helped improve their relationship.
Hearing aids are a solution to relationship struggles
For those with hearing loss, activities that once seemed simple can become challenging. After a while, the inability to concentrate on what people are saying in crowded areas, understand speech through the phone, or enjoy intimate moments with a loved one can cause some people to become isolated, anxious, and depressed. Instead of seeking a solution to their hearing loss, many people will stop going out and doing the things they enjoy over time, hurting themselves and their partner in the process.
Today’s hearing aids are designed to make going out a breeze no matter the listening environment or situation. Directional microphones, wind and feedback suppressors, wireless streaming capabilities, and other features make it so that nobody has to avoid going out to a party, restaurant, or movie because they’re embarrassed by their hearing loss. Instead of minimizing the reality of a hearing loss or distancing yourself from a partner because of this condition, consider purchasing a hearing aid and developing skills to mediate communication issues.
In a relationship where only one person has hearing loss, the partner with normal hearing can also work to improve communication. Be sure to have an open discussion about any hearing-related concerns and try to establish a plan for resolving them. Some of the most common and effective strategies for enhancing comprehension are direct eye contact, slower and clearer speech delivery, and speaking with a louder volume.
Building healthy hearing environments
There are plenty of accessories available to increase the functionality of hearing aids, including Bluetooth® streaming and smartphone apps to help you hear better in any situation. You may also want to rearrange some furniture or appliances in the house to create quieter spaces for listening and conversation. Consider dividing household chores by ability, such as leaving telephone and communication work to the hearing partner. Letting others know that your partner has difficulty hearing at events such as a cocktail or dinner party will keep your partner from having to frequently explain their condition and prevent potential misunderstandings. If you have been fitted with a hearing aid, be sure to wear it as prescribed and try not to take it out if it isn’t necessary.
Hearing loss doesn’t have to mean the end of a romantic relationship. The tools and articles available on this website are here to help you in your journey towards restored hearing. If your relationship is suffering because of lapses in communication, a hearing aid may be the answer. Use our online locator today to find a hearing care professional in your area and schedule an appointment.