If your partner has recently been diagnosed with hearing loss, you may be wondering how you can support them as they adjust to their diagnosis and how you can minimise stress and miscommunication in your relationship at this time. Adjusting to any big life change can be challenging, particularly if it affects working life, socializing or self-confidence. If your partner's getting used to wearing hearing aids or facing the prospect of cochlear implant surgery, they may experience feelings of isolation, fear, anxiety and low mood. You'll naturally want to support your partner, but you may struggle to know what you can do in those early weeks and months after diagnosis. Here are three ways you can support your partner as they come to terms with their hearing loss:
Experience Hearing Loss For Yourself
If conversations between you and your partner can become tense due to the frustration that can comes with your partner not hearing parts of the conversation correctly, or if you have a tendency to feel impatient when you have to keep repeating yourself, your partner may feel like they've become a nuisance to you. Your partner explaining what their hearing loss is like for them can help you empathise, but experiencing what the world sounds like to them can change the way you approach conversations with your partner and help you develop more patience. There are apps available, such as Hearing Loss Simulator, that allows you to select the specific type of hearing loss your partner experiences and hear what they hear when you speak to them.
Be Involved In Medical Appointments
If your partner is happy for you to be involved in their medical appointments, attending the audiology clinic with them can be a practical way of showing them you care and want to fully understand the condition of their hearing health and treatment plan. You can ask the audiologist or specialist nurse any questions you have about your partner's hearing loss and write down important information relayed to your partner in case they miss parts of it. If your partner dreads hospital appointments, having company can help lift their spirits, and having you with them can empower them to ask questions or challenge anything in their care plan they are not happy with.
Try Aural Rehabilitation
You and your partner can attend aural rehabilitation sessions together, and these sessions are conducted by speech-language therapists. The aim of aural rehabilitation is to teach new ways of communicating that prevent frustration and improve your ability to understand each other. Your therapist may cover topics that include the interpretation of visual cues, the impact of background noise, lip-reading skills, learning to listen when you have a new hearing aid and the importance of rephrasing sentences rather than repeating them.
These are just a few examples of how you can support your partner with hearing loss. You may also benefit for attending couples counselling together or spending extra time connecting with your partner doing something you both enjoy.
Hello, my name is Liam and I live in Alice Springs, Australia. I work pretty hard every day out on my farm, so it isn't unusual for me to have aches and pains. I hate going to the doctor so I normally pop a couple of painkillers or open a cold beer to deal with the discomfort. However, my wife kept on nagging me to see a doctor, which I eventually did. The doctor at Fidelity Health Choice discovered that I had a rare infection which was causing the pain. After a course of drugs, I fully recovered. I now attend regular appointments. I hope you enjoy my health and wellbeing blog.