Generally, when you think of Valentine’s Day, the apparent gifts come to mind–Cards, chocolate, flowers, jewelry. But what about the gift of hearing? This Valentine’s Day, Salem Audiology Clinic and many other organizations encourage people to have their hearing tested as a commitment to their relationships. Maintaining good hearing health and good communication is critical in any relationship.
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HILAA) estimates that nearly 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. When one or both people in a relationship have a hearing loss, it can harm the relationship.
Negative emotions caused by hearing loss
Suppose you and your loved one are struggling with the effects of hearing loss within your relationship. Please understand that you are not alone. Many couples struggle to communicate within the same parameters before having hearing loss.
Below are a few signs of declining communication within a relationship:
Anger— Arguing over going out in public, TV volume, or closed captioning, and losing too much communication in your relationship. It can all be a sign of hearing loss and the anger that can find its way into your relationship.
Frustration— The spouse with hearing loss may become frustrated by changes to their way of life and feel their partner misunderstands their hearing loss. The other spouse might be frustrated and have to repeat themselves to be understood.
Sadness— A person with hearing loss could feel they are missing out on the world around them—sounds, music, conversations, which can lead to isolation, feelings of sadness, or depression.
Stress— Stress can build on both sides. The partner without hearing loss may feel like a full-time liaison. Responsible for filling in conversation gaps, handling chores that require interaction with others, and advocating for proper medical care. On the other hand, the spouse with hearing loss may worry about being too dependent on their partner. It can make them feel inadequate or uncomfortable with how comprehensive their medical needs have become.
Detachment— you and your spouse may feel estranged from each other where you once felt inseparable. The spontaneity of your relationship and communication that you both once enjoyed can decrease and take an emotional toll over time.
Ways to maintain a positive relationship with hearing loss
The best place to start is to ensure you and your spouse get your hearing tested by an Audiologist. It’s an integral part of maintaining good health. Many people may not recognize they have it because it’s typically gradual. An Audiologist can help diagnose and discuss options for rehabilitation if you have hearing loss, including the use of hearing aids if needed.
Hearing aids have are an effective solution for many with hearing loss and have been shown to improve satisfaction in relationships. Hearing aids allow people to reconnect with their surroundings and reengage with their partners.
You also want to make sure that you and your partner have communication strategies in place. Understanding your hearing loss and limitations is necessary. For instance, making sure you can see your partner when they’re speaking to you or limiting excess background noise as much as possible when out with your significant other.
Valentine’s Day tips that are hearing loss friendly
With Valentine’s Day approaching, we wanted to give you a few ideas to guarantee the evening is special when spending time with your loved one.
Be practical about the location: Making dinner at home or choosing a restaurant you know will have a more interment atmosphere; even heading to the park. These options can be great ways to assure you and your partner can enjoy each other company and provide good communication.
Stay ready:Make sure you bring additional batteries. If you use rechargeable hearing aids, ensure they’re charged before leaving the house. If you have any personal sound amplification products (PSAP) such as a partner mic, don’t forget to grab that before heading out the door as well. To prevent feedback and whistling, you might also want to clean any debris and wax buildup from your devices before your date.
Convey your needs:Your partner wants the best time out possible too. Make sure to let them know how they can help with how they communicate with you, whether it’s asking them to speak a little slower or to sit on a specific side of you. Suppose you head out to a restaurant for Valentine’s Day. In that case, you can request seated at a corner table away from the kitchen or any other loud background noise.