Hearing loss not only affects the life of the patient, but also the lives of those around them, particularly their romantic partners. However, with a positive attitude, the right communication strategies, and attention to the right hearing aid solution, couples can overcome the challenges of hearing loss and move forward into the future closer than ever.
We all desire intimate connections with others. For a romantic partner, this connection is often built upon shared activities and functions. A study by Action on Hearing Loss found that when one person in a relationship had hearing loss, the couples’ participation in social activities lessened.1 Though it may be understandable that these couples shy away from their usual social activities and circles, taking the right steps can help those with hearing loss to feel confident in those settings once again. Whether it’s a get-together with family and friends, or a night out at the movies, background noise and anxiety can be reduced by today’s advanced noise-reduction technology, making it easier for couples to focus on one another again.
While dividing household tasks can be difficult for all couples, hearing loss may make this a bit trickier, as it may call for a temporary transfer of established responsibilities. One partner can show support by taking on tasks that may initially cause stress or anxiety for their significant other—like calling the bank or interacting with others at the grocery store—until a comfort level to communicating with a new hearing aid is achieved. Those with hearing loss who are still getting used to today’s more effective hearing aids can reciprocate by taking on the chores they feel more comfortable doing. Through practice, patience, improved hearing, and better speech intelligibility, couples can work toward getting back to their familiar routines.
If a loved one is struggling with hearing loss, it’s only natural that their partner may be worried about situations that depend on one’s ability to hear. Things like smoke alarms, spoken warnings, or traffic sounds on the road can raise safety concerns. This worry is normal. With appropriate education and counseling, along with readily available technology, partners can encourage and support their loved ones to maintain their much-needed independence, and give both partners peace of mind.
The key to maintaining a deep connection with your significant other, throughout the challenges hearing loss may bring, lies in positive communication. For couples to support one another, it’s recommended that partners take an active role in appointments with a hearing care professional.1 Sharing in these visits will give partners a better understanding of their significant other’s difficulties, and what can be done about them. Fortunately, today’s hearing aids not only amplify sound and reduce background noise better than ever, but improve speech intelligibility as well. So, if you have an older device, you may benefit dramatically from a technology upgrade.
Start on the road to better communication—for you and your significant other.
Echalier, M. In it together: the impact of hearing loss on personal relationships. Action on Hearing Loss (formerly Royal National Institute for Deaf People, RNID). London, UK; 2010. https://idainstitute.com/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/In%20It%20Together%20-%20Impact%20on%20Personal%20Relationships.pdf.