Cropped shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands discussing hearing loss with compassion.

It’s something lots of people suffer with, but few want to talk about – hearing loss and its impact on personal relationships. Hearing loss can create communication barriers that lead to misunderstandings and frustration for both partners.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner isn’t it the perfect time to express your love and appreciation for your loved one? A great way to do this is to talk to your loved one about your hearing loss.

Having “the talk”

A person with neglected hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely risk of experiencing cognitive conditions including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. A cascade effect that will eventually impact the whole brain will be caused when the part of your brain in charge of hearing becomes less engaged. This is referred to as brain atrophy by doctors. You remember how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.

Depression numbers amongst individuals who have hearing loss are almost twice that of an individual who has healthy hearing. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become anxious and agitated. The person may start to seclude themselves from friends and family. As they fall deeper into depression, people with hearing loss are likely to stop engaging in the activities they once enjoyed.

Relationships between family, friends, and others then become strained. It’s important to be patient and work together to determine solutions to communication challenges.

Mystery solved

Your loved one might not be ready to tell you they are developing hearing loss. They may feel shame and fear. Denial might have set in. Deciding when to have the conversation may take a bit of detective work.

Here are a few external cues you will have to depend on because you can’t hear what others are hearing:

  • Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
  • Failing to hear alerts, doorbells, and other significant sounds
  • Turning the volume way up on your TV
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
  • Repeated misunderstandings
  • Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
  • Avoiding busy places

Plan on having a heart-to-heart discussion with your loved one if you notice any of these symptoms.

What is the best way to talk about hearing loss?

Having this talk may not be easy. A partner in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why discussing hearing loss in the right way is so crucial. You might need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be basically the same.

  • Step 1: Tell them that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
  • Step 2: You are concerned about their health. You’ve read through the research. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in a higher chance of dementia and depression. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
  • Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An excessively loud television could damage your hearing. In addition, studies show that increased noise can trigger anxiety, which might affect your relationship. If you have an intruder in your house or you’ve fallen down, your partner might not hear you calling for help. Emotion is a strong way to connect with others. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than just listing facts.
  • Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to get a hearing exam. After you make the decision make an appointment right away. Don’t hold off.
  • Step 5: There may be some objections so be prepared. You could find these objections at any time in the process. You know this person. What will their doubts be? Will it be lack of time, or money? Doesn’t notice an issue? Do they think they can utilize do-it-yourself remedies? (You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could do more harm than good.)

Be prepared with your answers. You might even rehearse them in the mirror. These answers need to address your loved one’s Worries but they don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word

Relationship growth

Discussing hearing loss isn’t easy if your partner doesn’t want to discuss it. Developing a plan to deal with potential communication problems and the impact hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their worries will be heard and understood. By having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. And relationships are, after all, about growing together.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Call or text for a no-obligation evaluation.

Schedule Now

Call us today.

Schedule Now