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Relationship Advice: FOR People with Hearing Loss, BY People with Hearing Loss

February 17th, 2014 by | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

As part of our survey on Dating, Relationships, Marriage… and Hearing Loss, we asked respondents to share any comments they had about survey questions, as well as any general comments, tips, or stories they wanted to provide.  The response was incredible and provided many diverse viewpoints on hearing loss and relationships!  Here are some of the best tips, advice, and stories you shared:

Do you prefer to date someone with hearing loss?

In my experience dating someone with hearing loss comes with a slew of personal politics. I have very strong views and [opinions] relating to my [hearing loss] that we would clash in terms of view points.

I have dated both hearing and deaf people.  I think it doesn’t matter.

I think it doesn’t matter.

I prefer someone who can hear normally because it makes my life easier, I know that may sound selfish but, I depend on my guy to hear the things I cannot when we go out in public and he helps me a lot. He does get frustrated but, not too often.

[I]t’s tough to find another deaf person to date if you live in an area where there aren’t many deaf people!

Being with a deaf person makes it slightly easier as they know what being deaf is like. However, my past boyfriends who were hearing have become understanding.

When should you tell potential dates about your hearing loss?

When my date asks me a question and my answer is related to disability/hearing loss/etc, or I will tell my date because I could not hear or understand what is said.

I never had to point blank say it, they are visible as I have short hair…

I am passionate about hearing awareness and pediatric audiology. Since my job includes audiology and awareness its pretty easy to break the ice when first meeting someone.

I have found that it is best to tell people in person about my hearing loss. In online dating situations, many people will just assume that it will be hard to communicate with someone with a hearing loss and will not continue communicating or attempting a date once knowing this information. 

Many people will just assume that it will be hard to communicate.

If he wants to call me before the first date, then I mention that I am hearing impaired and may ask him to repeat himself often. Otherwise it usually comes up during the first date or when we first meet.

Usually only if other person notice it on first date.

If I was asked about my hearing loss in the first date, then I will share but very superficially. If we date consistently, then I will tell him/her later after 3 or so dates. I do this way so I can allow him/her get to know me as a person better without hearing loss before learning a great deal about my hearing loss as I believe my personality is what makes me who I am the most.

What have been the challenges of dating as someone with a hearing loss?

It’s very hard. There is discrimination out there but some don’t care.

I can almost always predict how a certain person feels or treats others by their initial reaction to my “I am deaf and utilize a cochlear implant”

I didn’t let my dates know right away about my hearing loss for fear of being rejected but in hindsight I feel that fear was unfounded and all in my head. It was a self esteem issue I felt self conscious in my teen years and early 20′s. It took me a while to realize that it doesn’t make a difference to anybody whether I had hearing aids or not. I was accepted for who I was. It was something I had to learn for myself though. I wish I had a mentor growing up it would have helped so much!

For me personally is dating/finding a partner difficult in one thing: because of my hearing loss I don’t really enjoy big parties or frequent going to pubs, discos etc.  And if I go, I have troubles with understanding what’s going on [...] I prefer meeting with only a few friends which I already know. So I think I have [fewer] opportunities to meet someone.

I have always enjoyed to go with my normal-hearing friends on a night out – but it has always been difficult to communicate in noise – and because of that I have always found it hard to make contact with new people and especially the ones of the opposite sex…

My husband (then boyfriend back in those days) was hooked with me from day 1. However, his family may have had some concerns or second thoughts, as they thought I may have difficulties holding a job, etc.

Some potential dates had accents.

Some potential dates I have met had accents which took a little time to get used to (in the dark! haha) but [I] quickly adapted.

People need to understand communication is a two way street, both people need to understand each other, and both make an effort, and at that point, it won’t matter who you are with, if you two mesh.

What dating/relationship advice do you have for people with hearing loss?

Don’t worry about your hearing loss, it’s one of the things they like about you and if they don’t like it, they’re not worth your time! 

If they don’t like it, they’re not worth your time!

In my experience, I feel as though my hearing loss has done nothing but connect my partner and I even more [...] When a partner who has normal hearing is willing to work with my extra needs and starts to form their habits to help my hearing loss, it definitely feels like the hearing loss is bringing us closer.

If you have a noticable speech impairment as well as hearing impairment, be up front right away. It has been my experience that once they realized I have a hearing loss that is the cause of the speech imperfection, they are more open to socialize with me. It is helpful that for the first few dates to choose quiet places or timing to decrease communication barriers as much as possible.

My advice to you guys and girls is just be yourself!

Once in a relationship, the best advice I can give is to communicate as much as possible, to work on finding the best means of communication for you and your partner. This could be email, texting, captioned phones, instant messaging etc. But also to find best means to communicate in person and to make an effort to find time to talk just the two of you either on date night or at home when things are quiet and you can focus on each other. It can be challenging to date when you are hearing impaired but it is possible to find love and a long meaningful relationship, never give up! We are all deserving of love and happiness!

Another piece of personal wisdom for self advocating is I view my implant to be almost the same as someone who wears glasses. Don’t try to cover it up, be proud of this device that gives you the world of hearing. 

Be proud of this device that gives you the world of hearing.

Don’t allow it to define you. If anything your relationship is stronger when you are confident in yourself and end up opening a new perspective to your partner.

#1. Hearing aids make great jerk screeners [...] If he can’t see you past the hearing aids, he’s not a good catch. #2. Hearing loss/aids/cochlear implants become a negative issue ONLY when you allow it to become a negative issue. Just tell the news in a matter or fact way, and be positive about it. If you’re okay with it, then likely he/she will be okay with it. [...] #3 resist the urge to make communication problems about the hearing loss. People with typical hearing have communication problems too. [...] #4 relax…and have fun…and smile a lot. If you didn’t hear, DO NOT bluff. #5 If you didn’t hear someone for the nth time, then just say what you heard (or make up something funny) and let the person and you BOTH laugh about it…guys just love a great sense of humour.

Relationship issues are not caused by hearing loss. Any hearing loss-related conflict that ensues is a symptom of deeper relationship problems.

One thing I learned quickly was to listen and not get my feelings hurt if he didn’t hear me.

[C]ommunication is important and sharing with each other about the possibility your child can be deaf how to approach the situation and be on the same page.

Communication is a good foundation.

 The more your partner understands what you’re experiencing with hearing loss, the easier it is for them. Communication is a good foundation for both involved. Makes for a good marriage for us.

This is who I am and I am not ashamed of it so I tell them right away. If they don’t accept it then I will just move on.

Any funny stories about dating/relationships with a hearing loss?

I sometimes remind my husband of 14 years that I did not choose to have to deal with my hearing loss, I don’t know why he did!

I wore bilateral HAs during my wedding and was worried I’d mess up my vows. How I wish now I could relive that day with my bilateral CIs. My spouse is the most sensitive and respectful person I’ve met in regard to my hearing loss. Love him!

In our family we fine the humor in all things. It could be worse. We have had a lot of laughs. One good thing is sleeping. No noise!

I was once out for breakfast with my ex-fiance and we were in a neighbourhood that was kinda shady – so I heard something and I thought it was a gun! I asked him who’s shooting and was [a] bit frantic. He was trying to not laugh. Turns out an old man in the breakfast place sneezed REALLY loud and [with] the echoing it sounded like a gun going off. I still laugh about that one!

[O]ne of the first times my future hubby put his arm around me, it made my hearing aid (that [I] had at the time) whistle and he thought it was some weird alarm telling him he was getting too close.

Now if my wife nags, I just turn my aid off and remove my CI…..just kidding!

The biggest enhancement of having hearing loss is that when communicating, my husband knows he has my undivided attention as much as possible as I need my eyes as well as my [CI] ears to hear.

I had a bed shaker go off and it totally freaked out one of my [ex-significant others].

Written by

Elizabeth Rosenzweig MS CCC-SLP LSLS Cert. AVT is a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist. She provides auditory verbal therapy, aural rehabilitation, IEP advocacy, consultation, and LSLS mentoring for clients around the world via teletherapy. You can learn more about Elizabeth's services on her Website or Facebook.

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