What it’s like to have HOH spouse

After reading some of the comments in another thread about spouses not really understanding hearing loos or how hearing aids work, it got me to thinking. It can’t be easy living with us (HOH) either. I haven’t talked to my wife yet about this but without talking to her I know it has affected our relationship in ways I may have not realized.

I thought it might be good to here from others, some of the difficulties a spouse of HOH person goes through. Communication has to be at the top of the list but there may be something that I or someone else isn’t aware of.

It would be good to here from anyone that lives with a HOH person that’s not HOH themselves or those of you that have talked to your spouse about this can comment on your spouses concerns.


My wife is appreciative that I’ve gotten hearing aids. The only times she’s gotten annoyed is if I forget to wear them.


If you want a little more empathy from your wife, convince her to wear a pair of foam earplugs for a day. the max attenuation is only 20 - 25 dB ( which is still basically “normal” hearing) but it can be quite eye opening for a spouse.


I did something like that on my own. A friend had a benign brain tumor where he lost one side of hearing. So in a sympathetic gesture, I plugged one ear for a period of time when with him and really respected what he was now living with. This was way before I finally got my own hearing assistance even though I was likely less than ideal even then.

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The biggest bugaboo in the SpudGunner household is that - even with great hearing aids capable of driving 100dB receivers - my hearing is only 57% of normal.

The upshot of this is that I may very well hear that MrsSpud is talking, but understanding what she said is another matter!

She can’t fathom what it’s like to have to fill in so much of a conversation using pure guesswork … :frowning:

Having to repeat, miscomprehension, misreading the emotional content of raised voices: all of these things are inconducive to matrimonial bliss.

It takes a lot of empathy and genuine effort on both sides to tamp down the underlying static caused by hearing deficiencies.



I just spoke with my SO to ask him. He said that he doesn’t feel a big problem, it’s something that changed, you have to accept, and work with it. He said that his bigger problem is not entirely comprehending what is hard for me, which situations. Or to interpret my reactions if he isn’t sure if I understood it correctly.

But we agreed that before and after my loss, loss itself didn’t affect us much, yes we had to adapt, but we are working on mutual empathy from the day one, this was just another obstacle in life.

And I definitely utilize the phrase ‘I hear that you’re talking, but I can’t understand you, come closer or wait until I come closer’, and then some of us move closer.

Since we got cats it become a bit trickier, since we talk with them, and then it’s usually soft voice, so we’re not always sure if the spoken word was even meant for us, but at least we have some smile because of it.

One thing that definitely changed with my new aids is that we don’t need so much subtitles as before, since now due to the direct streaming I really can comprehend things without looking at the TV.

But now we have another issue - he has to pause the video if he wants to comment something, since now I’m enjoying my personal headphones and I have it on ‘minimal environmental sounds’ :rofl:
But it’s ok, and I think even better, since we don’t miss the video while commenting.

However, definitely adjustments were needed and are needed, it’s just that we both want to please each other so it never was a burden. Like, I’m not lazy to get up and come so that I can hear him better, nor is he lazy to come and talk to me. Works for us :wink:


EH? Did I HEAR you right? No more canned food left?


This is exactly what has to happen. My wife has always liked to talk a little after we get in bed before going to sleep. That had to change, if I lay my head on the pillow with aids in, the feedback kicks in, so the aids come out before I lay back. A year ago when I first got the HA, I remember asking her while I was sitting on the bed, you got anything you want to say, I’m about to take my ears off, she just laughed and said no.


Same here! (The dogs know exactly when, in our bedtime routine, my ears come out, and they’re standing by in the hopes that I’ll drop one of the tasty, waxy little morsels the colour of dog kibble, for a bedtime snack!)

[My audiologist has cautioned me that HAs don’t survive the trip down the canine alimentary canal happily!]


My audi asked me my hearing aid goals.
I said I needed to work and keep my wife happy.


I am not going to get my SO involved…She is convinced that I am just not paying attention to her. I have heard “selective hearing” etc. I don’t know how you all with really bad hearing make it with your SO. Maybe they “own it” a bit better than mine does…

Own it… like that.
Relationships are hard work!

In any situation, if someone is going to whisper under their breath so to speak (heh heh) then it wasn’t important enough for me to say or do anything back. When I start looking out the window because it’s all a muffled subdued mumble/murmur then forget about it. Clearly it’s not important enough. Oh! You want me to say something or to interact? Well speak up! It’s just as tiring for me to always ask for you to repeat something as it is for you to always repeat something. And that’s how the HOH withdraw and isolate. Hearing aids are not the be all, end all. They merely aid. It still needs to people to speak up.


I think this is an important topic so thank you Tim4. For me, it’s “our” hearing loss not “my”.

We live in a large apartment complex and always bump into neighbors on our daily walks. I usually miss words here and there and with face masks I miss almost everything. My husband feels pressure to be the witty conversationalist for both of us. He also feels bad when he can’t recall the entire conversation for me after we’ve walked away. As frustrated as I am by this situation, it’s important to recognize the stress on him as well.

For 40 years we’ve been best friends who love to talk and he feels scared as my hearing continues to decline to lose this connection.


Thanks for sharing that. That’s something I have never thought about, exactly what I wanted this tread to be about.

My husband is my best support system since I am the HOH spouse. If I can’t understand or hear something we have a code that he can step in and help me. He trys not to over step and be my hearing aid for me, but he will when I give him the code I need help. I know it is hard on him because talking was so much easier like at night in bed or in noisey places and communication gaps is really hard on a marriage so we work really hard at looking at each other while he talks to me so I get it and he knows I heard him (via lip reading).

**My late wife had over 40 years to adjust to my hearing as it gradually reduced. My new companion struggled to hide her irritation when I misheard, but now she does understand, because the proliferation of very poor audio on TV and radio through iPhones and weblinks is making it hard for her to hear, too. So we now happily share the captions.

There’s been another insight as well: following vaccination I developed a painful sciatica and that’s given me insight to how my companion’s troublesome hip impacts upon her mood.
So we settle into the sofa with biscuits and tea… grateful actually to be alive!**

Yes, indeed!! You nailed it!