05 Feb Can you hear the sweet nothings?
You’ve done everything you can to improve your romantic life. You’ve read the books on intimacy, you’ve bought the flowers and chocolate, and you’re looking your best. But something is still missing and the fire is burning out on your intimate relationships.
Sex therapists from around the world all agree on the best aphrodisiac: Effective Communication. It is the essential ingredient to intimacy. Think about your last romantic dinner; your dining partner glowing in the candlelight, smiling at you across the table – were you shouting at them across the table? Were you saying “I love you” and they looked confused because they heard “elephant shoes”? You don’t need to be a sex expert to realize that shouting at eachother isn’t exactly the way to set a romantic mood.
The impact on intimacy of mild hearing loss is even more subtle. Does your date seem like he/she is “in another world”, not interested, or unresponsive? Maybe they are just missing key parts of the conversation or missing your subtle cues because they have hearing loss. So instead of feeling closer to your date, you may start to withdraw and the hearing impaired date feel rejected, when really it was just a miscommunication. This doesn’t exactly start laying the bricks for an intimate relationship.
If you’re in a long term relationship, when was the last time you whispered something romantic to your spouse and they misheard you or laughed awkwardly? Or vice versa, when was the last time your partner told you something, you thought you heard it correctly but you responded inappropriately, and then they seemed frustrated or withdrawn afterward? This problem of miscommunication haunts couples when one partner refuses to acknowledge their hearing problem.
When was the last time YOU had your hearing tested? According to the Better Hearing Insitute, nearly 1 in 5 baby boomers (ages 41-59) have hearing loss, while 1 in 14 Gen-Xers (29-40) have hearing loss as well. However, only 1 in 4 of these individuals with hearing loss are managing their hearing loss with hearing aids to facilitate effective communication.
Research has shown that hearing aids will not only boost an individuals self esteem and reduce their anxiety, it may well make their sex lives more fulfilling due to increased communication and an increased ability to pick up on subtle cues.
“It’s hard to feel romantic and attracted to someone who never seems to listen. But that’s how someone with untreated hearing loss often comes across,” says Dr. Fred Piercy, a couples therapist in Blacksburg, Virginia. His wife Susan is an audiologist who wears a hearing aid. The Piercys treat many unhappy couples that include some with untreated hearing loss, and once that person gets a hearing aid, it often rekindles the romantic relationship simply by increasing communication abilities.
Intimacy often depends on the right atmosphere to get both partners in the same romantic mood. If you or your partner has trouble hearing, a hearing aid can help make sure that romantic cues are picked up and that sweet nothings whispered in the ear are heard. While people often feel that a hearing aid will make them less attractive, that is an outdated and obsolete stigma. Don’t let this old-fashioned way of thinking keep you from doing something about your hearing problem.
February is “Love Month” at Hearing Institute Atlantic. Why not bring your partner in for complimentary hearing test to make sure you are setting yourself up for the most romantic and intimate Valentine’s day (and rest of the year) yet!