How Does Hearing Loss Affect Relationships?
The relationship that we have with our frequent communication partner is one of the most important relationships that we have as we have chosen this person to spend our lives with.
However, when we spend so much time together, hearing loss could cause one or both of you to experience feelings of frustration, loneliness, isolation, irritation and anger. This doesn’t have to be your experience.
Here are some tips to avoid these feelings and to ensure that you are able to share conversations and interactions together that are reflective of the love that you share.
1. Start Creating New Communication Habits
Awareness is the first step to successful communication.
When you have a hearing loss, listening requires effort. It is impossible to do more than one thing when trying to listen. If you can remember the following before you start a conversation, no matter if it is a transactional conversation such as “did you put out the garbage cans?” to something more important, remember these three steps:
- Get the attention of the listener and make sure that they are looking at you
- Move closer, 8 feet or less
- Turn off, turn down or remove any distractions
When communication does breakdown, notice if one of the above was not followed. Then keep working to improve. We are human and won’t achieve 100% but awareness itself will improve communication and the intent is that of love.
If you’re noticing communication habits that cause difficulties for the other, sit down and figure out how you can overcome these communication obstacles together.
2. Know When Your Partner’s Hearing Technology is Off
Wearing hearing devices all day may be tiring for some people and some wearers need a break from the stimulation. Agree that your partner will let you know when they are removing their devices and respect that time.
3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Hearing loss comes in many forms. Sometimes it may have impacted your communication to some degree for many years and your partner is now ready to address it, it may be a sudden change in hearing, or it may be present from birth or longstanding.
Whichever it is, ensuring that you are both able to discuss when communication breaks down and how you are feeling is important. Most people notice that they are unable to have the spontaneous conversations that they once enjoyed if they have an acquired hearing loss.
Conversations have to be intentional, agree to share the load. It is not fair for one person to always be taking all the steps. Remind each other playfully or with love if you feel that you are always the one who is taking the steps to ensure good communication. Try to avoid comments or conversation that is not necessary.
4. Find Technology You Agree On
Watching a movie or television together can be an area of disagreement. Talk to your audiologist about the different solutions for this.
Wireless Bluetooth adaptors for the television are available or the installation of a hearing loop. Both of these devices will improve the clarity and quality for the partner with hearing loss and allow the other to either have the sound off or enjoy it at the level they find comfortable.
5. Enjoy All The Positive Moments Together
It’s important to embrace the positives of sharing a life together.
Living with a person who has hearing loss can be difficult at times for both people. It requires a lot of patience and understanding, but in the end, working together is part of a strong relationship and it takes both parties to make it work.
Sign up for our class on February 12 on How to Improve Communication with a Hearing Loss where I will be sharing more tips on relationships and hearing loss.
If you’re concerned about your hearing or think you might need a hearing device, get your hearing tested today. Schedule an appointment by calling us on (916) 646-2471.
Interested in learning more? Attend one of our regular hearing solution events to learn more about our unique approach to hearing loss or give us a call at 916-646-2471.Contact Us Now