Hearing Health Blog

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

The majority of people don’t want to discuss the impact hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s a problem many people cope with. Hearing loss can create communication barriers that lead to misunderstandings and aggravation for both partners.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner isn’t it a great opportunity to show your love and appreciation for your loved one? Talking about hearing loss together is an ideal way to do this.

Having “the talk”

Studies have revealed that a person with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that will inevitably affect the whole brain will be initiated when the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged. This is referred to as brain atrophy by doctors. You remember how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.

Depression rates amongst individuals with hearing loss are nearly twice that of a person who has healthy hearing. Individuals frequently become anxious and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. This can lead to the person being self isolated from family and friends. As they fall deeper into sadness, people with hearing loss are likely to stop participating in the activities they once enjoyed.

Relationships between family, friends, and others then become tense. Communication issues need to be managed with patients and compassion.

Mystery solved

Your loved one may not be ready to inform you they’re experiencing hearing loss. They may feel shame and fear. They could be in denial. Deciding when to have the conversation may take a bit of detective work.

Here are some external cues you will have to rely on because you can’t hear what other people are hearing:

  • Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Failing to hear alarms, doorbells, and other important sounds
  • Watching TV with the volume really high
  • Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you can’t hear
  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Avoiding busy places
  • Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school

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

How to discuss hearing loss

This discussion might not be an easy one to have. A loved one could become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why it’s crucial to approach hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. You might need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be basically the same.

  • Step 1: Tell them how much you love them unconditionally and how much you value your relationship.
  • Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve read the studies. You know that neglected hearing loss can lead to an increased chance of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to experience that.
  • Step 3: You’re also worried about your own safety and health. An excessively loud television could damage your hearing. Also, your relationship can be affected, as studies have revealed that excessively loud noise can trigger anxiety. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you have a fall or somebody’s broken into the house. Emotion is a strong way to connect with others. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it will have more impact than simply listing facts.
  • Step 4: Schedule an appointment to have your hearing tested together. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t hold off.
  • Step 5: Be prepared for objections. These could occur anywhere in the process. This is a person you know well. What will their objections be? Will it be lack of time, or money? Perhaps they don’t see that it’s a problem. They may feel that homemade remedies will be just fine. (You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could do more harm than good.)

Be prepared with your answers. Even a bit of rehearsal 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 is unwilling to talk about their hearing loss, it can be difficult. Developing a plan to tackle potential communication problems and the impact hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their worries will be heard and understood. In this way, your relationship will grow stronger and your loved one will take steps to live a longer, healthier life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment



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.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss! Call or Text Us
Call Now