How to Improve Your Hearing – And Your Relationship
We all know communication is key to maintaining strong, healthy relationships. Push and pull, give and take. Relationships require balance, compromise, and understanding of each others’ needs and desires... but what happens when a hearing loss is part of the mix? The breakdown in communication that it causes can damage, or even end, relationships.
How does it affect relationships?
Quite often, hearing loss-related communication problems will be blamed on one’s ability (or lack thereof) to listen. When a person has a hearing problem, their closest circle of loved ones also has a hearing problem, as this puts a strain on daily interactions and emotions between all parties.
It’s common for a partner to feel isolated, ignored, or undervalued in a relationship when communication lacks as a result of an untreated hearing loss. Often the person with the loss can become dismissive and blame the other party, making complaints such as “You’re mumbling” or “You need to speak more clearly”.
What can be done about it?
Although it can be embarrassing or hard to step up and seek help for a hearing loss, it can help a person rebuild and improve their relationships with the people they value most. The first step in this direction is recognising the problem and acknowledging the hearing loss.
Once this is done, partners can open an honest dialogue with each other and talk about their frustrations and approach the topic of solutions. After the problem has been verified, partners often become more conscious of the accompanying needs of a person with hearing loss.
To improve communication, the partner can try:
- Facing their partner when talking to them
- Rephrasing sentences over just re-stating them
- Avoiding saying “Nevermind” or “Don’t worry, it’s not important”
Are there more effective solutions?
There’s much hope to be had when facing hearing loss. The good news is that thanks to groundbreaking technologies, communication and social participation can be restored to near-normal levels and quality of life improved dramatically. Activities like watching the television together, attending events, or enjoying intimate conversation, can once again be enjoyed as part of a couple.
Why not take a moment, and reflect on the state of your relationship with your partner. Have you had communication problems? Do you feel isolated or disconnected from your partner? If you believe you’re experiencing hearing loss-related relationship strain, don’t wait to take action. Some things are worth too much to lose.