Communication in a Marriage Impacted by Hearing Loss

It is frustrating when you live with someone that has a hearing loss!  To repeat something over and over before you are understood, can fray the nerves.  Countless arguments happen because of misunderstandings or out of sheer frustration when trying to be understood.

A normal conversation is spontaneous. When a spouse says, “Look at that” and has to repeat it several times, they will finally get to, “Never mind”. Conversations can become limited over time, with very short answers losing the richness, the flow and even the humor.  A loss of intimacy begins to happen and there can be a sense of loneliness for the husband and wife.

The spouse and family members often substitute as the interpreter and this short-term solution can have side effects.  Friction and resentment is often a result for the person who is doing the “listening and repeating”. For the person with a hearing loss, they can see the look on their spouse or child’s face when they have to ask that something be repeated.  It is hard for people to shout for the third time without looking angry.

The result to the hearing impaired person?  Withdrawal: They simply begin to stop putting themselves in situations where it is difficult to hear and understand.  In other words, they can stop participating in their life. Perhaps they no longer want to spend time with the grandchildren (children’s voices can be difficult to understand). People with a hearing loss can feel as if they are a burden to their spouse and sadly, they can feel stupid in social and listening situations-which they come to dread.

There are a few simple things to help ease the situation and help people to communicate.

•    Tell people you have a hearing loss, too simple to believe but very difficult for people to do. The statement can get an immediate understanding from people in the conversation.
•    Ask people to speak directly to you, keep your eyes on the person speaking!  We communicate with body language and non-verbal cues.
•    Remind your spouse not to talk to you from another room, again it’s simple, but we need (even those with normal hearing) the non-verbal cues.
•    If you need hearing instruments, just like your glasses, wear them!

Keep in mind, the more severe the hearing loss; the more important it is to use these listening tools. Be patient with your loved one, hearing loss occurs slowly over time and is a health condition that is all too often ignored. Encourage your spouse to have their hearing tested once a year. Just like your vision, your hearing continues to change over time and having it tested is the first step to understanding and if necessary, getting help for the loss.

The longer people go without getting help for their hearing loss, the harder it is for them to relearn how to hear.  The brain, where sound is processed has forgotten certain sounds overtime, and must relearn how to hear. An example is background noise, like the whirring of a fan is normally tuned out for individuals with normal hearing.  New Hearing aid wearers need to retrain the portion of the brain that interprets sounds, which will happen overtime – not immediately.

Hearing loss is truly a condition that affects the spouse.  They can become the human hearing aid, interpreting conversations and repeating over and over.  It’s no wonder that relationships are strained. Be patient with each other and understand this disability.  Make your lives easier by getting help for a hearing loss. In the last several years technology has advanced to the computer age.  Hearing devices are fit with microchips and are more sophisticated than at any point in time.  They are smaller and smarter using advanced digital technology; which allows them to be prescription fitted to each person hearing problem; and re-programmed to compensate for any additional hearing loss in the future.

We live in a very noisy world and if you live long enough, you will lose some of your hearing regardless of age.  One out of every 10 people has some degree of hearing loss.  Some forms of hearing impairment come from birth defects, heredity, infections (ear aches), high fevers, blows to the head, certain medications, surgeries, and circulatory conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.  Also contributing to hear problems are exposure to noises, especially industrial and places where noise levels are 85 decibels and above.  In addition, the use of lawn equipment and power tools also cause irreparable damage to the inner ear.  Finally, loud music concerts and the use of personal listening devices: (i.e.: walkmans, & ipods) are a new hazard we need to be aware of.

We only get one set of ears that have to last our entire life: don’t take them for granted!

Contact Us

Leonardi Hearing Center
16251 N. Cleveland Ave. #8
Corner of Littleton Road
North Fort Myers, FL 33903

Phone: 239-997-8288

Toll-Free: 866-332-0566

Fax: 239-997-8084

Email: leonardihearingcenter


Monday thru Thursday
9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Friday and Saturday by Appointment

"The Best 10 Years"