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When should you tell your date you have hearing loss?

telling your date you have hearing loss

Relationships can be tricky at the best of times, but many of us find them most difficult in the early stages.

Whether you’re quite comfortable talking to others about your hearing loss, or you feel ill at ease about it, telling someone you have a crush on might seem like an obstacle that you need to overcome.

So, when is the right time to tell your date you have hearing loss?

Just as there’s no hard and fast rule about when to say, “I love you,” for the first time, there’s no game plan for when to tell someone, “I have hearing loss.”

Saying those three little words

An article in Psychologies Magazine states:

“According to one survey, men take an average of 88 days to tell a partner “I love you,” compared to a woman’s 134. Moreover, 39 percent of men say ‘I love you’ within the first month of dating someone, compared to just 23 percent of women.”

Saying those four little words

While I couldn’t find any data on the average time it takes someone to say, ‘I have hearing loss’ in a dating/relationship situation. For me, with my (now) husband, it was our third date.

Telling someone you have hearing loss, or that you have hearing aids should be no more or less embarrassing than telling someone that you wear contact lenses, and yet, for some reason (or many reasons!) for many people, it is.

Why the third date?

I met my husband at a conference. I could hear and understand him well – in fact, his voice was the first thing that attracted me to him. (I heard him speak from the conference floor but I couldn’t see him.  Not only did I think he had a lovely voice, but I also thought he talked more sense than any of the speakers on the platform.) When we got to chatting at the break, I wasn’t having any difficulty following what he said so, the need to ‘declare’ my hearing loss never arose.

Read more: Dating with Hearing Loss: Date spots, cuddling and lip reading in the dark

For our first date, the pub we chose to meet in was one I knew was nice and quiet. The restaurant also had decent acoustics, so, again, the issue didn’t arise. But, when it became clear that we really liked each other and wanted to continue to see each other, I felt it was only fair that I tell him I have a condition called Otosclerosis, which causes progressive deafness. (I mean, if he was going to be in it for the long haul, he had a right to know what he was letting himself in for!)

Here’s how it went:

We’d been chatting about our university studies and he was telling me about his interest in language and communication. I told him I thought he’d make a great lipreading tutor because of his clear speech and lip shapes, and I seized the opportunity to tell him I attended lipreading classes because of having progressive hearing loss. I also explained that I sometimes used a hearing aid.

(The editor of this blog thinks this was SO smooth!)

What was the reaction?

My husband and I recently reminisced this moment and I asked him what went through his mind at the time.

“I could not have cared less,” he said. “I mean, obviously, it sucked for you and I’d be happy for you if you had better hearing but, it didn’t matter to me at all.”

Taking the plunge

So, if the person you’re dating is right for you, your hearing loss should not be a barrier to them wanting to be with you. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and tell them.

Read more: Ask Anna: My fiancé doesn’t understand my communication needs

Like with saying those three little words, there’s no right time to saying the other four. You just have to play it by ear!

We’d love to read more tales of romance and happy endings on our Facebook page and during February’s #hearinglosshour, which takes place on Twitter at 1 p.m. (GMT) on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017.

Angie Aspinall
Angie Aspinall
Phonak hEARo, Angie is a freelance journalist, copywriter, website designer and social media consultant. (www.aspinallink.co.uk) She lives in Scotland with her husband Richard, and their Westie, Tilly. Angie was diagnosed with Otosclerosis in her right ear at the age of 30. In 2011, she suffered sudden profound hearing loss in her left ear. She now uses a Phonak CROS II with a Phonak Audéo V hearing aid. You can follow Angie's international discussion group #HearingLossHour on Twitter @hearinglosshour.