Andreas S., a spouse of a cochlear implant recipient (Caroline S. is a Cochlear™ implant recipient, read her blog series here), is back to tell his top tips of being a spouse of a cochlear implant recipient or a spouse of a loved one with hearing loss (read his previous blog here):
My wife Caroline is deaf but hears. Now that she is a Cochlear implant recipient, there are still occasional frustrations and an excess of emotions.
We had developed and perfected 28 years of being hearing impaired. All that repetition and automatic behavior to cope with hearing loss were useless now that Caroline has a Cochlear implant. And by useless, I mean not necessary. I had learned to trail a step or two behind Caroline in clothing stores to answer the questions she would not hear from an associate. Now there were new things to learn.
Here are a few of our top findings.
Thoughts from a spouse of a cochlear implant recipient
1) Learn to adjust to new ways of communicating with your partner! For 28 years Caroline would lip-read to hear me better. With her cochlear implant, she looks me in the eyes when she talks, which is lovely.
2) Patience is the mother of success. Caroline had a hard time asking questions at first. She was out of the habit. If you ask a question, you have to listen and respond to the answer. When you are hearing impaired it is easier to just pretend you can hear and not say anything. Caroline did not like asking questions because then she had to listen for answers. Now that Caroline hears, she is asking questions. A lot of them.
3) Be more patient as a spouse. The funniest and sometimes most frustrating thing is when Caroline listens, but nothing else. She will listen to something but not the content. She will hear me talking and listen to the sound of the words because ‘they’re so pretty,’ but she will not use the words themselves to put together what I am saying. She is in love with the sound that she hears. She can hear every word I say, but still miss it all because the sound is more interesting than the content. That is that story of my life. 🙂
4) Don’t blame your partner for not trying hard enough. I have a lot of guilt. A lot. People are messy. Hearing-impaired relationships are messy and subject to extra heaps of misunderstandings. ‘What time is it?’ ‘I said I don’t care, do what you want.’ We wonder aloud how many times we missed appointments, went to wrong addresses or misunderstood family/friends’ news because Caroline did not hear. Any time or energy spent blaming Caroline for not trying hard enough was unjust. It is a lot of time, energy and misplaced emotion.
Are you a spouse of a loved one with hearing loss? Discover more about cochlear implants as a potential treatment for their hearing loss today.