Picture of happy senior coupleA few spats now and then might be something you’ve come to expect in your marriage, but if you and your spouse have been arguing a lot more lately — and one of you is always telling the other to speak up — you may want to visit an audiologist before you assume the relationship is doomed.

It’s possible one or both of you has a hearing loss, and this has more of an effect on your marriage than you might realize. Part of it is practical; if you’re not hearing each other, misunderstandings are bound to ensue. But part of it is also very internal and emotional, and this can wreak havoc on even the strongest of marriages if you don’t seek treatment.

The Struggle Is Real

Statistics show that there is a fourfold increase in the divorce rate of couples where one partner has severe hearing loss, as compared to couples where there is no loss or only mild hearing loss. But even mild hearing loss can make you miss or confuse sounds so that you end up not fully hearing what your partner just said. This missed conversation can eventually lead you to withdraw from interactions rather than deal with the frustration. That leads to an overall decline in your quality of life, and it can destroy your marriage.

Women are more often affected by this because the social isolation can be more profound. However, women are often better able to explain to others why they are having trouble hearing and what others can do to ensure better comprehension. So, men shouldn’t assume that hearing loss will not affect their social lives.

Both Sides Have Problems

Even if the partner with the hearing loss feels just fine about spousal interactions, the hearing spouse may become frustrated, too. He or she can become tired of repeating everything or dealing with a super-loud television, for example.

Regardless of who has the hearing loss or how severe it is, if a spouse is getting too frustrated with the situation, he or she could stop speaking to the other spouse. That can lead to more fights and more miscommunication. It’s a vicious cycle, but it doesn’t have to go on.

There Is a Solution

The best way to stop hearing loss from affecting your marriage is to get the loss treated. Hearing aids are the most likely treatment, while additional assistive listening devices make watching TV or using the phone much easier. Visit an audiologist for a hearing test and consultation. Once you get the right treatment, you may see your marriage becoming a lot more like it was before the loss occurred.