Whether you have been with your significant other for a few months or a few decades, Valentine’s Day is a good time to think about all the good and not so good times that have made your relationship stronger and your love deeper.
If the person you are celebrating has a hearing loss, that is one more challenge you have dealt with together. Often people with hearing loss are motivated to seek treatment because the one they love is getting frustrated. Part of that frustration is due to not being heard but, by not seeking treatment, the significant other may start to feel as if their loved one doesn’t care about what they are saying, which can lead to resentment and a lack of intimacy over time.
Researchers have found that almost 50% of people with hearing loss experienced difficulties in their relationships because of it. A third of those said it had even been the cause for why the relationship ended.
With Valentine’s Day here, below is some advice intended to support your loved one and make your relationship even stronger.
Hear things from their perspective
Although most people know what it is like to sometimes have difficulty hearing, a person with hearing loss struggles daily. TO better understand what their world sounds like, download an app that simulates hearing loss. Some of these apps allow you to record your own voice and then play it back in a way that is altered to mimic how you would sound to someone with a hearing loss. Hearing this is a great step in empathizing and understanding how your loved one hears and more aware of changes you need to make to improve communication.
A good rule of thumb is, if you can’t see the person’s face, they probably can’t hear you. So, before speaking to someone with a hearing loss, walk into the same room, turn and face them, say their name and wait for them to look at you. It is much easier to understand someone when you are focused and can see their face. If possible, decrease background noise and turn on the lights. Also, slow down. The faster someone talks the harder it is for a person to fill in what their ears are missing. Give them time to process.
We tend to take for granted those we love the most so make a conscious effort to support your spouse with their hearing loss. You can do this by attending their hearing appointments. You may learn something that will improve your everyday interactions, which will lead to better communication and a deeper appreciation for the person you love.