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Do you have hearing loss? You may and not even know it. Hearing loss often develops slowly over years, impacting your ability to follow conversations with the people closest to you in your life. In fact, it may be the person closest to you who recognizes a difference before you do. Your significant other may not understand that you have hearing loss—just that you struggle to hear what they are saying. They may mistake your hearing loss as you not paying attention or disinterested in what they are saying. However, by recognizing a potential hearing loss you have an opportunity to increase intimacy and connection in your most precious relationships as you age together with better communication, understanding and compassion.
Hear with All Your Heart
We collect sound with our ears however sounds are processed in our brain. When hearing loss sets in it depletes the ability for certain sounds, tones, and pitches to reach the brain. This means we must struggle through conversations at work, with friends and even with our significant other. This impacts our ability to connect to our loved ones in serious and detrimental ways. We may miss important parts of conversation leading to regular misunderstandings, putting serious rifts in your everyday interactions. Over time this can lead over time to you feeling estranged from the person in your life you are supposed to feel the closest to.
The Impact of Hearing Loss on Romantic Relationships
For many of us, our romantic relationships give us a sense of passion and grounding. As we age what started as fiery romance may turn into a lasting partnership to last you through hard times and the most glorious ones. However, connection occurs not only in the most extreme moments but in the quiet ones as well. It’s the quiet banter as you wake up in the morning or go to sleep at night. It is inside jokes which span years and casual interactions throughout the day. When hearing loss sets in slowly over years, these quiet moments which build intimacy begin to erode. You may find yourself feeling distant from the person you are supposed to feel closest to and most likely, they are feeling it too.
In fact, a recent survey found that living with hearing loss leads to more arguments and places a strain on marriages, significantly increasing the chances of a divorce. They determined that in marriages in which one person had untreated hearing loss, the rates of breakup and divorce are up to four times higher than in couples with normal hearing!
A Strain on Your Relationship
When one person in a relationship has hearing loss over time, you’ll find that responsibilities shift. You miss the doorbell and the telephone, a task that now rests almost all the time on your partner. Your partner also becomes a sort of interpreter in your relationship, often helping you understand people when you are out at the store, at restaurants and just about anywhere else you struggle to hear. This can build up into resentment around these new roles which is hard to repair.
Advocate for Yourself
Coming to terms with your hearing loss is only the first step in healing from years of poor communication with your loved one. Once you admit you have a hearing issue you not only have the power to treat your hearing loss but you can be direct with your partner about how they can best communicate with you so you can understand more clearly. This may be asking them to maintain eye contact with you or turning down the radio when you are trying to converse. These simple asks can build better communication, understanding and deeper intimacy over the years.
Investing in Hearing Your Hearing Health
While hearing loss is irreversible in most cases it is most commonly treated with hearing aids. Hearing aids don’t cure hearing loss, but they do amplify the specific sounds and tones you struggle with based on your latest hearing exam. This can help you connect to your loved one with improved clarity and intent. It may take a while to get used to your new hearing aids but once you do, most people find that communication with your loved one becomes easier. Many people report feelings of more intimacy and closeness with their partner than before hearing aids. To find out how to improve your relationship with hearing aids, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a hearing exam.