How Does Hearing Loss Affect Relationships?
Originally posted February 5, 2021
Communication is one of the most critical aspects of our everyday lives. Without it, we can’t interact with people and improve our relationships. Hearing loss makes communication difficult, and if you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you’ll know this better than anybody!
We interact with people consistently throughout our lives. Whether it’s at work, at a grocery store, while traveling, or during a family gathering. Communication is essential, and when we can’t communicate, or there’s a barrier stopping us from communicating the way we want, it can be incredibly frustrating.
If you have hearing loss, communication problems and frustrations can crop up for you and your loved ones regularly. Sometimes your loved ones might feel as though they’re being ignored, or they have to repeat what they’ve said until they give up. This lack of meaningful conversation can be damaging to anyone.
If you or a loved one have untreated hearing loss negative emotions can often arise, including:
- Feeling isolated
- Withdrawal from social interactions
- Decrease in communication with friends and family
Having untreated hearing loss causes extreme communication difficulties with your loved ones, especially if you’re trying to converse in a busy environment. Areas with poor acoustics or a lot of background noise can make life absolutely miserable for anybody with hearing loss.
Your life and socializing shouldn’t be slowed down just because you or a loved one has hearing loss. This is why we’re going to discuss how hearing loss affects relationships and how you and your family can work to improve hearing and communication.
How does hearing loss strain relationships?
Untreated hearing loss can be a source of stress amongst couples. Sometimes there are feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and even distress when one partner has hearing loss. Communication can be complex, and everyday small talk and interactions can be hard to get through on either side.
Communication is vital for a healthy relationship and day-to-day communication amongst couples. Whether it’s trivial chatter or essential matters, it’s necessary for a healthy relationship.
Hearing loss can cause these small but necessary communication sessions to break down. When communication stops working, things get frustrating. Frustration often leads to annoyance and resentment, which can negatively affect a relationship.
A lack of communication in a relationship can also lead to a feeling of neglect and loneliness. But what can you do to ensure this doesn’t happen in your relationships?
What can be done to improve my hearing and communication?
Individuals with hearing loss often attempt to compensate for their hearing loss by:
- Asking others to repeat what they’ve said
- Nodding and agreeing without understanding
- Pretending they understood the conversation
- Asking somebody else what was said later
These strategies can help improve your communication, but they shouldn’t be relied on alone. These strategies can become tiring for you, the listener, and your communication partners.
But what can you do to enhance your hearing and communication and make it easier to communicate with your loved ones?
Here are three ways you can improve hearing and communication in your relationship.
1. Get your hearing evaluated
The first step towards better communication starts with a hearing evaluation. If you’ve noticed that your hearing or a loved one’s hearing isn’t what it used to be, then now is the time to test it.
By making an appointment to have your hearing evaluated, you’ll be able to work with an audiologist and your loved one to form a strategy for moving forward.
There is a wide range of technology for individuals with hearing loss to help improve their communication and quality of life.
If you get evaluated for hearing loss, you’ll be able to make intelligent decisions to help improve your communication efforts with loved ones and prevent your hearing loss from affecting the relationships in your life.
2. Use strategies to communicate better
An audiologist can also show you some communication strategies to further assist you and your loved ones in your communication efforts.
Remember, if you’re in a relationship with someone who has hearing loss and uses a hearing aid, this doesn’t mean they’ll be able to hear you a few rooms away.
To ensure great conversations consider some of the following communication tips:
- Get their attention first before speaking
- Move closer to the individual with hearing loss (8 feet or less is best)
- Communicate face to face as visual cues are very helpful
- Speak slowly and clearly
- Try to have patience and be empathetic
By doing this, you’ll be able to assist your loved one in communicating with you better despite their hearing loss. However, you might be doing some things that make communicating more difficult.
Things that make communication more complex include:
- Speaking too fast
- Communicating from a different room
- Repeating the same sentence
- Turning your face away
Learn more about conquering communication breakdowns in this blog here.
3. Be compassionate
Whether you or your loved one has hearing loss, it’s important to develop compassion to better understand what your other half is going through.
If you have hearing loss, take a moment to think about how your condition affects the people around you. It might feel as though you’re the only one being frustrated, but your struggle impacts those around you too.
If you’re refusing treatment for your hearing loss, you’re putting your relationships on the line.
If your partner suffers from hearing loss, then take a moment to put yourself in their shoes.
Try wearing earplugs for the day to see what it’s like to live with hearing loss. Not only is it hard to converse with people, but you can’t even enjoy the sounds around you in the same way. You’ll feel unsafe, too, because you’re unable to hear sound cues like traffic.
Being compassionate to each other is critical to keeping your relationship together, even if you have hearing loss.
There is no doubt that hearing loss, especially if untreated, can significantly affect relationships, as communication is the key to all relationships.
Take the initiative and treat your hearing loss to have great conversations again! It's important to remember as family and friends that we need to actively build new habits and change how we communicate with our hearing-impaired loved ones.
Awareness of communication strategies and simple changes can help tremendously in communicating with your loved one.
This Valentine’s Day, don’t let hearing loss ruin the romance! Give your partner the greatest gift of all, the gift of proper communication.
Communication is essential for relationships, so book an appointment with our team today and get your hearing checked by our trained audiologist.
Schedule an appointment online here or call 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