Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day with your husband or wife this year? Whether this is your first or fiftieth Valentine’s Day together, it’s a great time to reflect on the wonderful things about your marriage. Through the highs and the lows, you’ve made it through together, that is something worth celebrating.
If you’re celebrating with a spouse who has a hearing loss, that’s one more thing you can face and overcome together as a couple. At Physicians Hearing Care, we’re here to help you both deal with the effect hearing loss has on your life together, so that you can truly enjoy Valentine’s Day and all the other days of the year.
Hearing loss can be hard to deal with for both the person with it, and their spouse. And when we say fact, we really mean it: British researchers found in a survey of 1,500 people with a hearing loss that 44% had experienced difficulties in their relationships because of it. Sadly, a third said it had even caused their relationships, including marriage, to completely breakdown.
With Valentine’s Day almost here, we don’t want to focus on the negatives, but instead want to give you some useful advice that will help you support your spouse through their hearing loss and make your relationship even stronger.
See (or rather hear) things from their point of view
Talking to your spouse about what life with a hearing loss is like is a great first step to understanding where they are coming from. But now you can go one step further using smartphone apps that actually simulate hearing loss. Apps like these record your speech and then play it back to you, altered in a way to mimic how someone with a hearing loss would actually hear it. Making the effort to understand how your spouse with a hearing loss experiences the world doesn’t just show you care, it can change the way you behave when you’re with them; making you more considerate of their needs.
Make conversations easier
For anyone with a hearing loss, picking up on cues other than sound is incredibly helpful when trying to follow a conversation. Communication is key to a successful relationship, so whenever you’re talking to your spouse, gently get their attention and face them directly whenever possible. Avoid chewing gum or talking with your mouth full of food, as this makes it harder to understand what’s being said and harder to lip-read.
Another way to make conversations easier is to have them when you are both calm. Stress, anxiety, frustration, and anger all make following a conversation harder for those with a hearing loss and that leads to more stress. Also, try to have conversations without lots of noise in the background and if your spouse is struggling to understand what you’re saying, avoid the temptation to shout. Instead, rephrase what you’re saying and try simpler sentences that are easier to follow.
Love, support, and encouragement are all part of marriage, but as day-to-day duties keep you busy, it can be easy to let these things slide. Make a conscious effort to support your spouse with their hearing loss by going along to their hearing health appointments. This shows how committed you are and you never know, you might just learn something new about hearing loss which can help you understand what your spouse is going through every day.
Valentine’s Day might not be here yet, but you can get started on supporting your spouse with their hearing loss right now. To start, you can both come along to any one of our Physicians Hearing Care offices for a hearing assessment. Just click here to get in touch and we’ll arrange an appointment with an Audiology specialist in Tennessee.
Dr. Kalyn Bradford is the Director of Hearing Aid Services here at Physician’s Hearing Care. She completed her externship with Physician’s Hearing Care in 2013 and subsequently joined the practice in 2014 after graduating with her doctoral degree in audiology from Louisiana Tech University. She joined PHC as a Clinical Audiologist where she performed comprehensive audiological exams and specialized in helping patients to hear better using the latest hearing aid technology available. She has carried that experience into her current role as Director of Hearing Aid Services, where she does an excellent job managing the Audiologists to ensure that all patients are treated with the best hearing care possible.