“Honey, could you bring me a glass of water?”
“What did you say?”
“A glass of water, please.”
“Say that again?
“A glass of water!”
“You want a glass of what?”
If this interaction sounds familiar to you, it may be time to get a hearing evaluation. Hearing loss affects 1 in every 8 Americans, with the rate jumping to 25% of people aged 65 to 74. Hearing difficulties can cause problems with work performance or everyday tasks. Often overlooked, however, are the ways in which hearing loss can put a strain on your marriage.
Effects of Hearing Loss on Marital Satisfaction
Hearing loss can have a profound effect on a person’s ability to relate well to others. Some of the most common marital problems experienced by someone with hearing loss include:
- Difficulty carrying on a conversation with a loved one
- Being considered thoughtless or uncaring when missing important information
- Feeling of embarrassment or shame about hearing difficulty
- Having others mistakenly believe that you have memory problems or other cognitive decline
- Struggling to relate interpersonally with your spouse because of hearing difficulty
- Forgetting chores or missing important tasks because you did not hear them, causing your partner frustration
- Feelings of frustration or anger about hearing difficulties
- Being self-critical of your abilities because you worry about lost hearing capacity
Hearing loss does not just impact the person having hearing problems. When you are in a relationship, your hearing loss may also be having a significant effect on the person you love. Some of these problems may include:
- Your spouse may constantly have to repeat information
- Your spouse may feel lonely or even depressed because of your reduced ability to connect on an intellectual or emotional level
- A spouse may feel increased stress or anxiety because he or she is taking on additional tasks to compensate for your hearing loss
- Spouses may feel frustrated about your increased dependency
Over time, these issues can take a significant toll on the marital relationships. In fact, having hearing problems may increase your risk of marital strife and even divorce.
A Comprehensive Hearing Exam and Hearing Aids May Improve Your Marriage
Fortunately, there are ways to ameliorate the effects of hearing loss on your marital satisfaction. The first step is to visit a hearing center to receive a comprehensive hearing evaluation. An audiology professional can help to determine the extent and nature of your hearing problems.
After getting an evaluation, it is important to come up with a treatment plan that can restore some level of hearing. Getting hearing aids can significantly improve your ability to carry on conversations, get important information, and take joy from your marriage.
Finally, it may be necessary for you and your spouse to unlearn some bad habits that may have developed when you were struggling with hearing loss. Practicing good communication skills and addressing any emotional problems that may have come up will set your marriage back on firm ground.