media release

Good hearing, good partnership and love life


Staefa, Switzerland, February 13, 2012

“Are you even listening to me properly?”, “We’ve already discussed that.”, “You don’t understand me!” Let’s be honest: Is there anyone who’s never heard one of these phrases? It’s no secret that functioning communication is a basic prerequisite of a harmonious and happy relationship. However, what if the relationship is the very thing that’s impaired, because one of the partners is affected by hearing loss? Hear the World has concerned itself with just that question and, in time for Valentine’s Day on 14 February, is publishing surprising results of the “Hearing is Living” study. Among other things, it shows that people with hearing loss feel more attractive, lead better partnerships and enjoy a more fulfilled love life since wearing a hearing aid.

Hear the World, the global initiative by leading hearing instrument manufacturer Phonak, initiated the “Hearing is Living” study to find out more about the significance of hearing for our quality of life. For this purpose, the Swiss Market Research and Strategy Consultancy zehnvier questioned more than 4,300 people in Germany, France, Switzerland, Great Britain and the USA.

Harmony in the relationship and more fun in bed

70 per cent of all respondents who have hearing aids confirm that their relationship has improved since they’ve been wearing a hearing aid. Over a third (36%) of respondents even report a more fulfilled love life since their hearing has improved. 

And the respondents whose partners wear hearing aids also confirm the positive effect of the hearing aid on the relationship: 81 per cent generally welcome the fact that their partner wears a hearing aid. 40 per cent believe that they are getting more attention from their partner again since he/she has been wearing a hearing aid and 38 per cent feel that their relationship has improved overall due to the hearing aid.

“Various studies show how important communication is for a harmonious relationship. The readiness and ability to adequately listen and respond to each other is one of the most important foundations of a satisfactory partnership. An untreated hearing loss can lead to a perceptible disruption in the dialogue between partners and promote misunderstandings and estrangement. This can be positively countered by a hearing aid“, explains relationship expert Prof. Dr. Guy Bodenmann from the Psychological Institute of the University of Zurich / Switzerland.

An overview of the most important facts:

  • 36% of hearing aid wearers (HAWs) have a more fulfilled love life since being able to hear better
  • 70% of HAWs report an improvement in their relationship thanks to improved hearing 
  • 81% of the partners of people with hearing loss welcome the fact that the partner wears a hearing aid
  • 78% of the respondents without hearing aid have no problem with a new acquaintance wearing a hearing aid
  • 52% of HAWs find it easy to make new acquaintances, this is about the same as in the population as a whole

Good hearing helps – even when looking for a partner

Anyone who now thinks that a hearing aid could act as a deterrent when getting to know someone is wrong. According to the study, people with moderate to severe hearing loss who have a hearing aid feel more attractive and desirable than people with untreated hearing loss (29% with HA, 16% without HA). It therefore comes as no surprise that hearing aids don’t act as a deterrent when looking for partners: 78 per cent of the respondents stated that it would be no problem at all for them if a new acquaintance were to wear a hearing aid. For nine per cent a hearing aid would actually be an issue. However: Were the affected person not to wear a hearing aid, but obviously have difficulty hearing, a relationship would be out of the question for 24 per cent of the respondents. This aspect is especially important for female respondents: A full 28 per cent would not enter into a relationship if the man did not hear well and did nothing about it.

And hearing aid wearers don’t feel restricted in their choice of partner either: 52 per cent of hearing aid wearers state that they find it easy to make new acquaintances – these are about as many as in the general population. Whether already in a relationship or still looking – those with good hearing definitely have better prospects on Valentine’s Day.

All Percentages quoted relate to the total respondents in Germany, France, Switzerland, Great Britain and the USA.