"Never mind" Communicating to a loved one with hearing loss

By Dr. Anne Simon

March 12, 2018

Does your spouse have hearing loss? Do you get frustrated repeating yourself? Have you thrown in the towel saying, “Never mind, it’s not important anyway.”

This is an example of how hearing loss can impact relationships. The emotions that both of you are feeling are common. Not being heard, you feel frustrated. But not being able to hear you, your spouse can feel isolated and irrelevant.

If you have normal hearing, it might be surprising to know feelings of isolation and irrelevance can arise when you don’t know what is being said. Imagine standing in a room of people speaking a language foreign to you. You know they are talking, but can’t understand what they are saying. What if that was your daily life? Can you see how you might come to feel isolated? Can you appreciate the feeling that the people in that room might prefer to communicate with those who understand them?

This is how a hearing loss sufferer can question their relevance.

When hearing loss is present, communication takes effort, patience, and planning . . . for both of you. Get your spouse's attention before you start speaking. Turn down or mute competing sounds. Make and hold eye contact. Pause in between phrases.

While you’re practicing better habits; the next, best step is to schedule an audiologic evaluation. I’ve helped many married couples have clear conversations again.

Hearing loss is a serious, significant health issue. If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, call my office at 208-746-7022.  

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