You know the story. Your frustration levels when trying to talk to your partner are rising. Why bother? It’s too hard. They don’t want to hear me, I’m sure. This blog might just save your relationship or marriage if one or both of you have a hearing loss!
It seems like only yesterday when Michael and Joan were sitting in my consulting room.”
Joan sat opposite me and told me how Michael came home from seeing his previous hearing person and told her that he had been told to tell her that she needed to look at him when she speaks to him.
“I almost killed him on the spot. I had been having to go to him and get his attention for what felt like decades at that stage. He would never come to me to see what I was saying”, Joan said.
“Surely it is not meant to be this hard to have a conversation with my husband. Why should I be the one working so hard.”
“Our marriage was almost over in that moment!”
“And Michael was just sat there and looked annoyed.”
“And to make it worse” says Joan,” I believe Michael is having problems at work because he isn’t always hearing the message right. He has been counselled about this. We need him to stay working a little longer.”
This is a message I shared with Michael and Joan.
It’s an important message. It is a message you hear talked about when hearing loss is concerned. Hearing aids or the hearing loss gets all the attention.
It’s called communication.
But what is this communication! Let’s begin with some definitions from the dictionary
“That’s nice to know, but how will that help me save my marriage”, says Joan.
You both need to implement some strategies so your interpersonal rapport improves and this will strengthen your relationship.
Communication had broken down between Joan and Michael some time ago. However, Joan was not giving up. Thank goodness for that.
If you want to know if you are a good communicator or not, just look at the result of your efforts to communicate. Did you get the response you expected? Or was it off track?
Michael quietly says “I hear “I need a loaf of bread” and it turns out that Joan was telling me “to go and have a rest”. I just don’t seem to get it right.”
Normally you blame the hearing loss or the hearing aids for not working properly.
Michael continues on. “At work, I have to attend a meeting and do these conference calls. I find it so frustrating as everyone is either on their phones, using speakerphones or doing something on their computers. It is just not easy to follow what is going on.”
Maybe you have some situations where you find your efforts to communicate breakdowns.
The most important thing is for you to recognise a communication breakdown has occurred.
The good news is it is possible to repair/fix these communication breakdowns between each other. Hearing Loss tends to create more opportunities for breakdowns. Mostly because the nature of hearing loss is it happens so slowly you are not aware of the changes that are happening to you both.
The secret to improving how you relate and communicate with that special someone is implementing these 5 steps.
Remember, accurate communication exchanges between you both is necessary to build, maintain and nurture your relationship over time. Hearing loss does not have to interfere.
It changes how it might happen. However, it is possible if you both take action to make a difference to you both, if not your marriage.
And maybe Michael might keep his job. The ultimate goal is for both parties to keep their sanity.
I would love it if you shared your story with me either on my Facebook or by email. Your story can help others.
It’s by sharing and telling our stories that we start to reduce the frustrations of hearing loss.
Nolene Nielson is an experienced Australian Audiologist who is passionate about hearing well. This article was first published at hearingcareprofessionals.com.au.