Valentine’s Day is coming up, and we hope you are spending this day with someone you love.
If you or your loved one is experiencing hearing loss, you know that this condition can affect your relationships. Hearing loss can seriously impact your relationships with friends, family members, and even your partner or spouse. Unfortunately, the effect is often a negative one.
A 2009 British study investigated the impact hearing loss has on relationships by surveying 1,500 people. 44 percent of those surveyed reported that their hearing loss had caused relationships with their friends, family, or partner to suffer. For 34 percent of those surveyed, the breakdown in communication caused by hearing loss actually brought about the loss of relationships, including marriages.
The potentially devastating impact of hearing loss is due to the way it affects communication and nearly every part of your relationship. If your partner has hearing loss, communication will become much more difficult. You may need to frequently repeat yourself to your partner, turn up the TV volume until it is much too loud for you (but finally loud enough for your partner), or cover up for your partner’s hearing loss and misunderstandings at social events.
Your partner may even stop enjoying social events and eventually withdraw from them, leaving you to either go alone or stay home with your partner. Your restaurant choices will be based more on the noise level and acoustics of various restaurants, rather than the quality of their food. Your partner will also be experiencing fatigue, embarrassment, and frustration that you cannot fully understand.
Untreated hearing loss in one partner can lead to:
- Withdrawal from social activities
- A breakdown in communication
- More frequent arguments
- A decrease in intimate conversations and casual humor
- A decrease in shared activities
While dealing with hearing loss can be challenging, it is not impossible. Hearing loss does not have to spell the end of your relationship. If you or your loved one has hearing loss, consider the following tips:
- Communicate with your partner about your frustrations and concerns. Acknowledge the difficulties in your relationship, including those caused by hearing loss.
- Maintain short, small communications. Simply checking in on each other’s day or sharing casual jokes can foster a stronger bond.
- Take a minute to consider how hearing loss is affecting your partner, no matter which side of the relationship you find yourself on.
- If you are the hearing partner, help your partner retain their independence. Do not cover for them when they mishear or make excuses for them. Do not foster co-dependence.
- Seek professional help. Hearing aids can change your relationship and restore improved communication between you and your partner. Hearing aids can also help your partner become more independent and once again find enjoyment in social activities, family gatherings, being in nature, watching TV, and other shared activities.
With nearly 25 percent of adults aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those aged 75 and older experiencing hearing loss, you or your loved one is likely to experience this condition. By acknowledging the condition, seeking professional care, and maintaining communication, you can come through this experience together with a strong, healthy relationship.
To learn more about how you can manage hearing loss in your relationship (and make next Valentine’s Day even better than this one!), we welcome you to contact our hearing professional today. We are here to help you and those you love.