How Hearing Loss Affects Relationships & What to Do About It

Hearing Loss Can Affect Relationships

Communication is the building block on which all great relationships are built, whether romantic or otherwise. While communication can take many different forms, it’s not hard to argue that being able to hear your partner plays a starring role. Hearing loss and relationships are a challenging combination, one that is often ignored or neglected.

5 ways in which hearing loss affects relationships

Whether you’ve been married for half of a century, or just starting out in a romantic endeavor, you probably have a pretty good idea what most couples do for fun and romance. Let’s take a look at how some of those activities can be negatively impacted by one or both partners having hearing loss.

  • Dinner dates – Whether at home or in a restaurant, having a special dinner with your loved one is a great way to keep the romantic fires burning. When hearing loss joins the party, however, things can go haywire. This is especially true if dinner is in a noisy restaurant or accompanied by a movie. Excess background noise will make it difficult for your partner with hearing loss to hear any conversation between you, let alone whispered terms of endearment. So, maybe you choose to always eat at home instead … which brings us to number 2.
  • Social gatherings – Many couples find joy in getting together with other couples their age. While that in itself may not be super romantic, it helps to build your own relationship as well as connections with others. When hearing loss causes you to avoid noisy settings like restaurants and social gatherings, however, it can lead to social isolation and affect your relationships with friends and family.
  • Other social outings – Romantic dates don’t just include eating out or socializing with friends. They also include things like attending parties, going to see fireworks, or taking in a concert with your favorite band. Similar to a noisy restaurant, these environments can prove challenging for someone with hearing loss. With the inability to accurately distinguish sounds, your partner may have trouble separating the music from your attempts at conversation. So yes, you could still take part in these activities, but some of the joy may be lost if you can’t communicate well during the process.
  • Personal conversations – Couples who truly connect on a deeper level often find it enjoyable to talk to each other, sometimes for hours on end! Maybe it’s sharing thoughts and dreams during a long car ride, or discussing the day’s events during an evening stroll. Either way, this can be challenging for individuals with hearing loss, especially if they’re not able to face their partner during the conversation.
  • Private talk – Some of the most intimate conversations happen when the day is done and it’s time to go to bed. How many times have you rolled over to go to sleep when your partner starts talking about something that has just come to mind? When hearing loss is in the picture, it can become increasingly difficult to have an intimate conversation, causing feelings to be bottled up inside or feelings of loneliness and frustration.

How to keep hearing loss from negatively affecting your relationships

If all of the above sounds depressing, don’t worry. There is help available as long as you and your partner are willing to avail yourself of it! The first step is to recognize that there is, in fact, a problem. Then, it’s important to get a thorough evaluation from a hearing professional such as an audiologist.

When the extent of hearing loss is determined, appropriate treatment methods can be discussed and implemented. Treatment might be as simple as having professional earwax removal (yes, too much earwax can affect hearing!) or it could involve using an assistive listening device or hearing aids.

In the end, hearing loss doesn’t have to impact your relationships. Get it treated and give the language of love the chance to thrive once again!

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