Tom and Rosalie have been married for nearly 56 years, and for the past 15 years, Tom has worn hearing aids to help his hearing loss. We sat down with the couple to learn first-hand how the hearing loss affected their relationship as husband and wife.
Noticing Hearing Loss
Q: When did your partner’s hearing loss first become noticeable?
Rosalie: “I was the first one to notice the hearing loss, and [Tom] didn’t believe me. He was doing focus groups at the time, and he began to realize that he had to keep asking people to repeat themselves. He had hearing loss for about six months before he was able to accept it.”
Tom: “The biggest issue at home was the TV. I always wanted it louder than she did.”
Trouble with Communication
Q: How did hearing loss affect your ability to communicate with each other?
Tom: “If I take my hearing aids out, I hear, but I don’t hear well. I tend to go to bed earlier than my wife. One of my ears is a lot worse than the other. If I’m lying on my pillow and the bad ear is up, there’s nothing she could say to me that I would hear.”
Rosalie: “There were no communication problems face to face. But I think it can have an enormous impact on a relationship. If you’re not hearing well, you tend to not want to talk to somebody because you don’t want to elicit any language from another person.”
How Hearing Loss Affects the Brain
Q: How do you think hearing loss affects a person’s cognitive abilities?
Rosalie: “You become rather distant from the world around you in terms of taking in information, so I think there’s a cognitive decline. It’s not just about hearing. It’s about the effect it has on your mental and social functioning and that you can do real damage to yourself.”
Advantages of Hearing Technology
Q: How do hearing aids and listening technology improve your daily life?
Tom: “Hearing is such an important sense, and if you’re not hearing perfectly, you’ve got a problem. I think you do yourself and your spouse a favor by having hearing aids. There are so many options available to you. You hear the television so much better when you have the television streamer. The difference between wearing hearing aids with the loops, I mean, it’s fabulous.”
Tune in to our Facebook Live event on Wednesday, March 24 at 11 a.m. We’ll discuss how to choose the right hearing aid for different kinds of hearing loss.