Hearing Loss and Interrupting
My DH is a wonderful man and we have a really great marriage. But he's damaged his hearing over the years, and it's gotten to the point where it's starting to affect our relationship. He doesn't always hear me when I speak to him, and as a result, he sometimes ignores me, mishears me, and interrupts.
When I tell/ask him something the first time, I'm almost always pleasant, second time more neutral, but the third time, I'm annoyed - and it shows in my voice. But if he missed it the first two times, he just gets the annoyed version and gets his feelings hurt. When he doesn't respond to something I've said, I never know if it's because he feels no response is necessary or if he hasn't heard me. So I either repeat it, or ask if he heard me - sometimes annoying him. (For those of you who are wondering, I actually don't talk all that much, so I'm pretty sure it's not a case of him tuning me out.) There are the countless times he either misheard or misunderstood me. Then he'll go into a long and detailed explanation of something that's only marginally related to what I asked. And when I get annoyed that he's completely missed the point, he gets his feelings hurt again. Or if I simply restate the original question, then he gets annoyed that I "didn't ask that the first time" when of course, I did!
Then there's the interrupting. He's really quite a talker, and will frequently start talking when someone else is already speaking. If it's pointed out that he interrupted, he'll typically deny it, then sulk about how "nobody cares what he has to say". I can't count the number of times he's cut me off when I was speaking to someone else, and it really hurts my feelings. When he sees the look on my face or if I mention it to him later in private, he's always very sorry -- but then it happens again. He's *not* a rude or inconsiderate person, but I think his constant interrupting makes it look like he is.
He did agree to a hearing test a few years ago, no doubt figuring that would 'shut me up' about his 'alleged' hearing problems, but wouldn't you know, the tests showed losses ranging from moderate to profound in the frequency ranges most used for speech. His hearing was typical of a man in his late 70's to early 80's. Of course, they recommended hearing aids. But DH is in his early 50's and his vanity is still alive and well. He nixed that idea very quickly.
I've discussed the issue with him a few times, but it's clearly a sensitive spot for him. It's quickly becomming a sensitive spot for me too!
Any words of wisdom?