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Hearing loss can make it extremely difficult for people to communicate effectively with their spouses or partners. It can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and lots of frustration—especially when the person with hearing loss constantly asks their partner to speak more loudly or repeat themselves. Many times, couples who address problems with hearing loss can restore their relationships and regain an optimal level of effective and meaningful communication.

What Is Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss occurs when a part of the ear or hearing system doesn’t work as it should. It can affect any part of the ear, including the outer ear, inner ear, middle ear, or the auditory nerve that runs from the ear to the brain.

A person’s degree of hearing loss can range from mild to profound. Profound hearing loss is the most severe degree of hearing loss and is defined as the ability to hear only very loud sounds and not any speech. Hearing loss is usually evaluated, diagnosed, and treated by hearing professionals, or audiologists.

How Can Hearing Loss Impact a Relationship?

Hearing loss can often be frustrating, embarrassing, and distressing. It can lead to mood swings, depression, anxiety, and stress—all of which can cause or worsen strain in a relationship.

Sometimes, the partner of someone with hearing loss must take charge of smoothing interactions during social gatherings and events to prevent their loved one from feeling embarrassed about their inability to communicate. Other times, the partner without hearing loss may get frustrated at home when their loved one needs the TV or stereo turned up at its highest volume, or cannot carry on conversations while the dishwasher is running. These types of problems can worsen the quality of life for the person with hearing loss as well, as they may feel guilty about compromising their partner’s comfort and well-being.

Communication breakdowns and difficulties surrounding relationships and hearing loss can make both individuals feel annoyed, resentful, and irritated with each other or with the situation as a whole. Fortunately, receiving treatment for hearing loss can often resolve these problems.

Do’s and Don’ts Of Communicating With Someone Who Has Hearing Loss

Though coping with hearing loss can be difficult for both the person with hearing loss and their partner, certain behaviors can improve communication between these individuals. Here are do’s and don’ts for those managing both relationships and hearing loss.


  • Say the person’s name to grab their attention before talking or asking a question.
  • Communicate face to face to provide visual cues.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Enunciate words.
  • Try using different words that may be easier to hear or understand.
  • Be patient.


  • Shout or scream.
  • Speak rapidly.
  • Turn the face away while talking to the person with hearing loss.
  • Communicate from a different room.
  • Repeat the same phrase louder each time.
  • Get frustrated and tell the person to “nevermind” or “forget it.”

What Can You Do To Help?

Hearing loss usually develops gradually over time, making it difficult for the person or their partner to detect it immediately. Hearing loss may not become obvious or noticeable until it starts causing serious problems. Communicating early on about any hearing difficulties or frustration is key to resolving and treating hearing loss and maintaining a healthy relationship.

Hearing loss can be effectively treated with a hearing aid device. Today’s hearing aids are more user-friendly than ever and can be customized for the individual with hearing loss to fit comfortably and block out useless background noise. Spouses and partners of people suffering from hearing loss can encourage their loved ones to see an audiologist and find one or more hearing loss treatments that work best for them.
At Sonora Hearing Care, LLC, we understand how hearing loss can impact your relationships and quality of life. Our audiologists will be more than happy to address all your questions and concerns regarding hearing loss and hearing aids. Contact us today at (520) 881-8740 to schedule a consultation and learn more about our hearing services.