6 ways to help your partner manage their hearing loss
Hearing loss can bring its own challenges to a relationship, particularly if it’s left untreated. From the little jokes you used to share that aren’t as funny when you have to repeat them, to more important details of conversations being misheard, that all-important communication changes and can affect your sense of connection as a couple.
It’s normal to feel frustrated, isolated, or even selfish at times, but rest assured with the right attitude and a bit of effort from both of you, there’s no need for a hearing loss to put a strain on your relationship.
• Suggest a hearing check
Because hearing loss can be a gradual process, it’s often a partner who first notices changes in their loved one’s hearing. It can be difficult to broach the subject, particularly if they feel their hearing is the same as it’s always been. Try sensitively suggesting a simple hearing check as a first port of call.
• Talk to an expert
If your loved one’s open to the idea, go with them to appointments with their hearing experts. This will give you an opportunity to discuss solutions to any situations that may be causing tension in your relationship, as well as to understand your partner’s hearing needs. This will not only help you support them, it will also bring you closer and foster a sense of togetherness in the journey.
Social occasions can be difficult for people with a hearing loss, so much so that many may withdraw completely. Staying home isn’t the answer though, it can lead to resentment and feelings of isolation for both of you, which will impact on your relationship. Instead, help your partner enjoy themselves when you go out by being their hearing support. Sit near them and fill them in if they lose track of conversations or mishear anything.
• Encourage your partner to use their hearing aids
If your partner uses hearing aids, you’ll notice how much easier it is to communicate when they’re wearing them. Some people find their partners don’t use their devices as much as they’d like, particularly around the home. If you feel things would be easier if your loved one used their hearing aids more, try having a gentle chat and explaining in practical terms how it benefits both of you.
• Talk to your loved one
Communication is key in any relationship. Talk to your partner about situations that cause tension in your relationship and how you can each make things easier for the other. Sometimes it’s the small things which make a difference, like being able to watch TV together at volume you’re both comfortable with, and there are often very simple ways to overcome those difficulties.
• Be in this together
Changes in hearing can bring challenges and frustrations to any relationship. Try to keep your patience and be sensitive to how your loved one will be affected by changes in their hearing. Try to see any difficulties associated with a hearing loss as challenges you tackle together, supporting each other. In this way, you may find that rather than pushing you apart, it can actually make your bond as a couple stronger.