Hearing Loss Doesn’t Have to Negatively Impact Your Relationship

Cropped shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands discussing hearing loss with compassion.

It’s something lots of individuals cope with, but few want to talk about – hearing loss and its effect on personal relationships. Both partners can feel frustrated by the misunderstandings that are caused by hearing loss.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner isn’t it a great opportunity to show your love and appreciation for your loved one? A great way to do this is to talk to your loved one about your hearing loss.

Having “the talk”

Studies have revealed that a person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact your whole brain. This is referred to as brain atrophy by doctors. You know how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.

Depression cases are almost half in individuals who have normal hearing compared to those who have hearing loss. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become anxious and agitated. The person may start to seclude themselves from friends and family. As they fall deeper into depression, people who have hearing loss are likely to stop participating in the activities they once enjoyed.

This, as a result, can result in relationship stress among mother and son, daughter and father, close friends, spouses, and other people in this person’s life. Communication issues need to be managed with patients and compassion.

Mystery solved

Your loved one may not be ready to inform you they are experiencing hearing loss. They may feel embarrassment and fear. Denial may have set in. Deciding when to have the conversation may take a little detective work.

Here are a few outward clues you will have to depend on because you can’t hear what other people are hearing:

  • Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
  • Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
  • Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
  • Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
  • Avoiding busy places
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Turning the volume way up on your TV
  • Frequent misunderstandings

Watch for these prevalent symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart chat with your loved one.

How to talk about hearing loss

This discussion may not be an easy one to have. A spouse in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate manner is so relevant. You might need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the strategies will be more or less the same.

  • Step 1: Tell them how much you love them unconditionally and how much you appreciate your relationship.
  • Step 2: The state of their health is very important to you. You’ve seen the research. You’re aware that an increased risk of depression and dementia comes along with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
  • Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own safety and health. An excessively loud television could harm your hearing. Also, your relationship can be impacted, as studies have shown that excessively loud noise can trigger anxiety. If you have a burglar in your house or you’ve fallen down, your partner might not hear you yelling for help. People relate to others through emotion. Simply listing facts won’t have as much impact as painting an emotional picture.
  • Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to get a hearing exam. After you make the decision schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Don’t wait.
  • Step 5: There may be some objections so be prepared. These could happen anywhere in the process. You know this person. What will their doubts be? Will it be lack of time, or money? Maybe they don’t see that it’s an issue. Do they believe they can utilize do-it-yourself methods? (You’re aware that “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.)

Have your answers prepared beforehand. Even a bit of practice can’t hurt. These answers need to address your loved one’s concerns but they don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word

Relationship growth

If your partner isn’t willing to talk about their hearing loss, it can be difficult. Openly talking about the effect of hearing loss on your relationship can help to establish a plan to address any communication challenges and ensure that both partners are heard and understood. By having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?



The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Questions? Talk To Us.