Your Relationships Don’t Have to be Negatively Affected by Hearing loss

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

The majority of people don’t want to discuss the effect hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s an issue many people deal with. Both partners can feel aggravated by the misunderstandings that are created by hearing loss.
This is the perfect time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. Discussing hearing loss together is an ideal way to do this.

Having “the talk”

Studies have revealed that an individual with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can start a cascade effect that can impact your whole brain. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.

Depression cases are nearly half in people who have normal hearing compared to those who have hearing loss. People frequently become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss progresses according to research. This can lead to the person being self secluded from friends and family. They are also likely to stop involving themselves in the activities they used to enjoy as they fall deeper into a state of sadness.

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 problems need to be handled with patients and compassion.

Mystery solved

Your loved one might not be ready to tell you they’re experiencing hearing loss. They might feel shame and fear. Denial might have set in. Deciding when to have the talk may take a bit of detective work.

Here are a few external clues you will have to rely on because you can’t hear what others are hearing:

  • School, work, and hobbies are starting to become difficult
  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Avoiding busy places
  • Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
  • Failing to hear alerts, doorbells, and other essential sounds
  • Watching TV with the volume extremely high
  • Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
  • Avoiding conversations

Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you observe any of these symptoms.

What is the best way to talk about hearing loss?

Having this talk might not be easy. A partner in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s crucial to discuss hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. The steps will be essentially the same but possibly with some slight alterations based on your particular relationship situation.

  • Step 1: Inform 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 go through that.
  • Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An excessively loud TV could harm your hearing. Also, your relationship can be affected, as studies have shown that excessively loud noise can cause anxiety. Your loved one may not hear you calling for help if you have a fall or someone’s broken into the house. Emotion is a powerful way to connect with others. Merely listing facts won’t have as much impact as painting an emotional picture.
  • Step 4: Decide together to schedule an appointment to get a hearing assessment. After you make the decision schedule an appointment right away. Don’t hold off.
  • Step 5: There might be some objections so be prepared. You could encounter these oppositions at any time in the process. This is a person you know well. What sort of doubts will they have? Money? Time? Doesn’t notice a problem? They may feel that home remedies will be just fine. (You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.)

Be ready with your responses. Even a bit of rehearsal can’t hurt. These answers need to address your loved one’s concerns but they don’t need to match those listed above word-for-word

Relationship growth

Discussing hearing loss isn’t easy if your partner isn’t willing to discuss it. Developing a plan to deal with potential communication challenges and the effect hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their concerns will be heard and understood. In this way, your relationship will get stronger and your loved one will take measures to live a longer, healthier 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.