Dating and Hearing Loss: Making Every Moment Count
Communication is critical for any healthy relationship. Whether it’s a conversation about something important or a simple and sweet, “just between us” moment, connection is what bonds couples. Every moment you spend with a significant other is an opportunity to learn more about them, share more of yourself, and forge a deeper and more meaningful connection.
So, what happens when you’re just starting a relationship with someone who perhaps can’t hear those sweet nothings you’ve just whispered in their ear, or who may potentially miss other small but important interactions?
Hearing loss does change the way two people communicate—but it doesn’t have to negatively impact the relationship if both partners are open and honest about their needs and expectations.
In that respect, it’s the same as a healthy relationship between two people without hearing loss.
However, when you’re dating someone with hearing loss for the first time, there are some things to consider that you might not have had to think about before. Your partner may be a strong self-advocate and might be comfortable letting you know what you can do to make connecting easier, but here are some good tips to keep in mind while you’re navigating this new-to-you experience.
Don’t be afraid to ask. Unless you’re a mind reader, you don’t know exactly what your partner needs from you in order to communicate effectively with you and to better interact with the world around them. For instance, perhaps their hearing is better in one ear and it would be best for you to always be on that side. Or maybe they prefer to sit in a specific spot in a restaurant where it’s less noisy. Instead of assuming and making a mistake, just kindly ask what you can do to make any given situation more comfortable for your partner.
Watch where you sit. You’re going to have to consider things you might have taken for granted in previous relationships. For example, if you sit in front of a restaurant window during the day, you’ll be backlit, which will make it much more difficult for your partner to read your lips and see your facial expressions—both of which are key tools that people with hearing loss use to communicate and process information. Sit where they can easily see your face and if possible, sit away from noise in a restaurant.
Be clear. If your partner relies on lip reading in addition to a hearing aid, make sure you’re always facing them when you speak. Likewise, don’t mumble or cover your mouth while you’re talking. You can also use facial and hand gestures to assist with communication.
Be patient. It might be difficult for your date to ask for what they need, particularly if your relationship is new, so it’s possible that things could be awkward before you both hit your stride and find that comfortable sweet spot. Be patient with them—and yourself—as you learn how to navigate your relationship together.
Be respectful. If you’re not the one experiencing it, you can’t know what it’s like to live with hearing loss. Don’t dismiss their lived experience by assuming they don’t know the best way to handle certain situations, and never assume they can’t advocate for themselves. Listen and learn, and always let them take the lead.
Finally, why not consider finding out how well you hear—particularly if you’ve never had your hearing assessed by a hearing professional before. Communication works both ways, after all, and if you are experiencing minor hearing loss, you could be missing out.
How can you tell? If you have trouble following conversations when there are more than four people present, if you sometimes can’t understand what people are saying because you can’t hear them, and if you find yourself turning up the volume on the TV even when others in the room say it’s not necessary, you are experiencing telltale symptoms of hearing loss.
Left untreated, hearing loss can put you at a greater risk of cognitive decline, impact your mental health, impair your memory, and leave you exhausted. Fortunately, a hearing assessment can put you on the path to better hearing in as little as an hour!
Considering that a hearing aid will help you reach your full hearing potential—making those romantic connections just that much stronger—it doesn’t make sense to wait a moment longer. Life is worth hearing, and it’s time to find out what you’ve been missing.
#SwitchLifeOn and book a free hearing test at a HearingLife clinic near you today to get the process started. HearingLife forms the largest network of hearing clinics with over 350 network clinics across Canada. Staffed by certified hearing healthcare professionals, HearingLife offers the most advanced hearing aid technology and up-to-date diagnostic equipment, as well as clinical support and exclusive 360-AfterCare.
HearingLife is now offering ZOOMER subscribers a FREE 30-day trial of advanced or premium hearing aids, so you can hear the difference for yourself!