What About Couples With Hearing Problems: Will They Fight More or Less

Picture of older couple painting

When one person has a hearing problem does that qualify as a relationship killer? Perhaps that hearing loss makes it easier to ignore a spouse or partner. Who’s to say that’s not a good thing? It’s likely that yes is the answer to both of these questions at some level, but it’s also safe to say talking to each other is the key to a good relationship and that’s not easy to do when only one person hears well.

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That’s might be what a person with poor hearing understands when their spouse asks them to take out the trash. Without good communication, even the best relationships suffer, so there is little doubt that hearing loss matters. On the other hand, getting help for that problem might just stop the fighting for good.

Aging Happily Together

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that about 25 percent of people between the ages of 65 to 74 have some form of hearing loss. If one or more of the individuals involved in the relationship have trouble hearing, their ability to communicate is cut in half and that means tension during those golden years.

The Stress of Hearing Loss

For someone experiencing that gradual loss of hearing, their tension begins to escalate. For one thing, they never know how their loved one will deal with their inability to comprehend a question or follow a story. Tension exists when they try to deny a problem, too. It’s difficult to accept that you have hearing loss, especially when it’s aging-related. As that frustration builds, it’s bound to trigger more fights.

The Miscommunications

With hearing loss, there is an awful lot of guessing going on, too. Did she say 9 or 10? What channel did he want to watch? What kind of drink did she ask for? The more you guess, the more you are wrong. That kind of miscommunication mixed in with a bit of denial can certainly lead to spats over the littlest things. Add to this the husband that practically yells every time he talks or a wife that has the TV up way too high every evening and hearing loss is at the root to most fights.

Depression and Hearing Loss

To add to this burden is the association between depression and hearing loss, especially in the elderly. Losing your hearing for most means you are getting older. The loss of this one sense is the first step in not being able to do the things you love, right?

That is not a practical assessment of the situation because people with hearing loss can still enjoy their lives, but, it is part of the negative thinking that goes on in the mind of a person adjusting to that change. The depression gets worse as hearing loss begins to affect relationships with the people you love like a spouse or adult child.

If you are willing to accept that hearing loss is bad for a relationship, then getting help could certainly save it. At some point couples have a choice; seek help or go on fighting. All it takes is a trip to the ear doctor to find out what is going on.

Getting an exam is about more than just improving how you get along as a couple, though. Hearing loss can be a symptom of a serious medical condition like heart disease, high blood pressure or even diabetes. It might also be a sign of something less serious like an ear infection or ear wax blockage. Maybe you use the fighting as an excuse to get help for someone you love, but you do it because you care. If the problem does turn out to be with the ears, then hearing aids will be like going on your second honeymoon. A survey conducted by Hear-the-World found that almost 70 percent of couples stated hearing aids improved their relationship.


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