There are very few medical issues that won’t impact a romantic relationship. Like it or not, if you have a hearing issue, it’s likely that your hearing loss or hearing health may have an impact on your relationship. No matter how supportive your partner is, your ability to communicate and how you experience human behavior and various situations will be different.
While no disability or limitation means you can’t have a perfectly happy and healthy romantic relationship, it’s important to be honest with your partner about ways your hearing health impacts the relationship. Doing so will mean for a stronger and more successful relationship overall. If you have any type of hearing loss or hearing impairment and want to know how to work with it in your relationship, read on.
Maybe you’ve already had every hearing assessment possible, are comfortable with your hearing impairment, have hearing aids that help with better hearing, and love your doctors and audiologists at the hearing health clinic you go to. If you’re comfortable with your hearing health and have been with your romantic partner for awhile, your hearing might not be impacting your relationship that much at all.
For those in newer relationships or who are still looking for that life partner, things are a little different. In order to form an authentic connection with your romantic partner, it’s important to be honest about your hearing health from the start. Doing so will not only improve your communication but will also give you the catalyst for explaining your communication differences. How you both communicate will make a big difference in the overall relationship.
For people without hearing loss or issues, for example, it’s natural to take into account body language, tone of voice, mannerisms, and more when communicating with any intimate partner. But for someone with hearing loss or issues, this might look different. Maybe you read lips in addition to listening. Maybe you struggle with tone or pitch. Letting your partner know about this will help more than you might think. Trust your mate to be honest with them about not only your struggles but your needs and offer the same in return.
For people with hearing troubles, things like phubbing can be an even bigger problem than they are in the context of relationships without any hearing loss by either partner. Phubbing basically amounts to half listening and half being distracted while talking to your partner. These days, with the constant influx of email messages, remote work, and social media, it’s even temping to do a Google search for what phubbing is in the middle of a conversation. Often, out of habit, a person will pick up their smartphone in the middle of an important conversation to check on something going on in the outside world.
In typical relationships, phubbing can be annoying or rude. But in a relationship where hearing loss is a problem or lip reading is a must, it can be downright destructive to overall communication. If you or your partner suffer from hearing loss, make a rule now about time on smartphones and how you’ll work around distractions that make communication more difficult.
Marital Satisfaction and Honesty
Once you’ve met your lifetime partner and have worked together for the best possible hearing care, you’ll have worked out most of the issues that come with hearing loss in relationships. That does not mean you’re forever in the clear. Make it a priority to check in with each other about how hearing loss impacts intimacy and your overall relationship from time to time. Have frequent and honest conversations. Maybe there have been changes for the good or the bad but these things will also impact your communication style.
In the end, you can have a perfectly happy and healthy relationship with hearing loss in the equation. By having honest conversations and advocating for your needs to be met, you’ll go a long way in avoiding unnecessary unhealthy patterns in your relationship and having more meaningful conversations.