The first time you are told you have hearing loss, it may feel like a personal battle to overcome. After all, it’s you who has trouble understanding conversations, it’s you who has to turn up the television to hear the dialogue, and it’s you who can’t go out to loud restaurants because of the overwhelming atmosphere. However, think about the other pieces to your life – your immediate family. Hearing loss doesn’t only affect the person who has it. Your family repeats themselves so you can hear what they said, your family listens to the television at a higher volume than they require, and your family stays home with you to mitigate any trouble with restaurants. The good part about family, though, is they are there to help you too. Hearing loss affects the entire family, but it doesn’t have to be negative!
Impact of hearing loss on your spouse
If communication is the cornerstone to a healthy relationship, hearing loss can throw a wrench into things. According to the RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People), spouses reported feeling more isolated when they couldn’t communicate well with their partner. Small changes to how conversations flow make a big difference in how connected you feel. RNID also states that some aggression and annoyance can build when one partner cannot hear the other. One may get frustrated having to repeat themselves while the other complains about mumbling.
Another way couples are impacted by hearing loss is a shift in responsibilities in the relationship. When one person has trouble hearing, they lose a bit of independence and have to rely more on their partner. This can leave one partner feeling overwhelmed and the other feeling childish or less capable. However, the good news is that hearing loss can be treated, and as long as you and your spouse remain a team, you can work through treatment together.
Treating hearing loss as a family
After you find out you have hearing loss, the next step is to address the issue. Will you try out a hearing amplifier? Would it be better to use hearing aids? Where will you buy the hearing aids? You don’t have to make the decision alone. As a family, determine what your insurance might cover in terms of hearing aid purchases, audiologist visits, and hearing upkeep. From there, you can decide together where to make your purchase. Hearing aids can now be purchased not only from your audiologist but also from major retailers like Costco or Sam’s Club, or online through companies like Audicus.
If you aren’t tech-savvy, perhaps you have a family member who can help you out. Figure out together what pair of hearing aids would be best for you and follow through on purchasing them. Having family around to make decisions and help fill out paperwork is incredibly helpful, but they can also provide insight into details of your hearing loss. Perhaps you didn’t notice certain sounds that your family did hear. Or maybe they saw a decline in your social life as a result of hearing loss. Family input helps you make an informed decision on your hearing aid purchase, and going through the experience as a unit may bring you even closer together.