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"Disabled" husband?

(21 Posts)
Lavinia28 Sat 11-Feb-17 20:03:27

Is any of you married to a do, who has a disability? What it is like for you?

Lavinia28 Sat 11-Feb-17 21:49:35


MyWineTime Sat 11-Feb-17 22:36:58

Yes I am - it's like being married to the man I love.
We have some extra practical challenges but that goes both ways as I'm "disabled" too - different disability though. (Why did you put "" around disabled?)

I find it an odd question to be honest.

Lavinia28 Sat 11-Feb-17 22:46:57

Why do you think the question is odd? I put "" around disabled because my husband is hard of hearing but he does not see himself as a disabled person and I think some might feel the word is a bit insulting.

Anyway my husband has been isolating and he seemed to be dissatisfied with his life (see my other thread) and I think his "disability" might be to blame. He was not born disabled and it is hard for him to come to term with that.

MyWineTime Sun 12-Feb-17 10:29:01

I think the "" is insulting. Either he meets the definition for being disabled or he doesn't. If his hearing impairment is having such a significant impact on his life, then he does meet the criteria. If he chooses not to use the term, that's his choice, he can just be hearing impaired.

Having any kind of disability can be isolating. It's harder to meet and interact with people. If he wasn't born with this disability, he has to come to terms with it - that is HUGE.

Is he refusing to go out? Are you able to support him and make things easier for him? He probably won't want to feel like a burden but still want to feel like he has value.
Whatever it is like for you, it is harder for him.

Lavinia28 Sun 12-Feb-17 15:05:21

I am sorry if I insulted you or anybody else. I just chose to use the "" in order to not insult anybody, but I am sorry if I did.

His hearing impairment has an impact on his life. It was one of the reasons for losing his former job.

He is not really refusing to go out, he does work outside the home. He avoids restaurants, cinemas and so on.
We spend the holidays at my family's house and other relatives were also there. We stayed for several days but he just came out when we ate, but when it was possible to retreat to our room without it being an insult he did.

He seems dissatisfied with his life. He has gained some weight and it is because he snacks so much. He does not see the connection but complains about being fat sad

I am not sure if his hearing loss is the reason. I just would like tonexchange experiences. Maybe anybody knows a board which deals with this sort of issues.

EggysMom Sun 12-Feb-17 15:08:44

If he is dissatisfied with life, and finds it hard to come to terms with, I have to ask - is he in denial, and just struggling to hear; or has he actually seen a specialist and been fitted with aids to help the situation?

OnionKnight Sun 12-Feb-17 15:18:13

I'm hearing impaired - I wear a hearing aid in each ear and I used to struggle with social situations, however as I've grown up and moved from my 20's to my early 30's I've found that I'm not meeting friends in loud clubs etc and I'm now okay with socialising, my wife has never really struggled with my lack of hearing - she just has to repeat herself sometimes.

It sounds like your husband is struggling, does he see himself as being an inconvenience? Is he wearing hearing aids, if not, why not?

Lavinia28 Sun 12-Feb-17 15:22:21

No, he has seen a specialist and did everything he could... but it has turned out his hearing unfortunately never will be normal again.
He has got hearing damage from acoustic shock which means he cannot hear what people say very well and to him it sounds like they are mumbling. He can hear other things we, it is typically only when people talk. It is because of the sort of the sound.

Leggit Sun 12-Feb-17 15:28:49

My husband isn't "disabled" he is disabled hmm

Lavinia28 Sun 12-Feb-17 15:29:57

OnionKnight: So you used to struggle with socializing?
My husband is afraid that people see him as an inconvenience or feel sorry for him. He hates it.
He used to be very proud of his physical fitness and no has also gained some weight, which is totally of his own making, because he eats a lot of comfort food, candy bars, sugary drinks and so on. I think he is unhappy with his body.

I have no problems with him not being able to hear very well... but I have a problem with him isolating.

Ofalltheginjoints Sun 12-Feb-17 16:52:06

I'm disabled but physically due to my leg rather then hearing impaired however as my disability is something that happened rather then be born with I share that with your DH.

Adjusting to life after becoming disabled is a huge thing and can take a long time to process and accept, it's nearly 10yrs since my accident and I still fight against my condition at times and having to start using a wheelchair was devastating at the time, does you DH use hearing aids?

I went into a period of depression after my accident as I was suddenly faced with things that I couldn't do even though I had three weeks before, food was my comfort and I did put weight on (still a pattern I have now sadly) could it be the same for your DH?
There are still times if I'm having a really bad day pain wise I don't want to see people, I hate that I feel a burden on my DP when he has to help me do things but it does take time to adjust to these feelings, maybe try and find places he is happy to go and go there more often as a starting point?

OnionKnight Sun 12-Feb-17 17:00:46

Yeah I've been hearing impaired since I was 6 years old so I do sympathise, I also have a physical disability which added to the insecurity. I used to feel that I was only invited out etc because people felt sorry for me and because we'd almost always end up in a noisy club or pub where I'd really struggle to hear so I'ed decline the invitations and sit indoors grin

I don't know what to suggest as (correct me if I'm wrong) but I went through all of this in my late teens to early twenties and I'm guessing that your husband is older?

In my case it was a confidence issue, I'm now much more confident, my friends have grown up with me so noisy nightclubs etc are a thing of the past. People now know that sometimes I just prefer to sit there with my drink and I'll listen and laugh at the odd joke but I won't get too involved.

With your husband, I think you need to address each thing differently, I'm not saying it's your responsibility but could you suggest that he has an evening walk? Just to get on his feet. With the hearing you might need to have a heart to heart, listen to his concerns and reassure him, he must be at or near rock bottom if he is hiding from family.

MyWineTime Sun 12-Feb-17 17:36:52

I have no problems with him not being able to hear very well... but I have a problem with him isolating.
I'm not sensing a huge amount of understanding on your part of just how difficult this is for him. I am sensing impatience from you that he can't just get over it and carry on as normal.

So much of his life has changed because of his disability. It's making all kinds of things that he used to be able to do any enjoy, impossible or very difficult. He has lost a huge part of his identity, he feels like an inconvenience and no-one around him understands.

You need to change the way that you do things in order to make them more accessible to him. Is there any point in him going to the cinema if he can't hear what's going on? I remember going to the cinema with a group of friends who had booked seats on the back row. I'm visually impaired - I couldn't see a thing. I felt completely excluded from the whole experience, like an outsider whose friends didn't care. As long as they were having fun, it didn't matter if I wasn't. The reality was more a lack of understanding, but having to explain and ask for help all the time makes you feel like an inconvenience.

Rather than focus on how this is affecting you and how you want him to change to suit what you want, I suggest you focus on how this is affecting him and what you can to do help and include him so he can start to enjoy life again without feeling like an inconvenience.

When my DH became disabled, there were lots of activities that we used to do that were no longer possible. He had a really hard time with that. The last thing I was going to do was make it worse by complaining about how his disability was affecting me.

PinkSparklyPussyCat Sun 12-Feb-17 17:55:50

DH is partially deaf and unfortunately hearing aids don't help him as his hearing loss affects different tones. He wasn't born deaf, it's something that's happened over time and he's learned to adapt - he has headphones for watching TV (apparently they improve the tone for him and mean the neighbours don't have to share our TV!), he makes sure he's looking at people when they are talking to him and he generally lets people know he might not be able to hear. If we're together I can pick up if he's struggling, even without him saying anything. I then fill in the gaps for him.

I have to say you don't sound very understanding towards the poor bloke, perhaps you need to take a step back and really think about how it affects him, and what you can do to help him.

Lavinia28 Sun 12-Feb-17 21:39:49

Thanks to everyone for your help.

Ofalltheginjoints: Thanks for sharing your experience. I am sure your are not a burden on your DP. Yes, he does use hearing aids but they do not work perfect. I think he might use food as comfort but in the long run it is not good for him because it gives him just one more thing to be sad about.

OnionKnight: I might have given a wrong description of our lives. He does work out, we have a gym in our house. So he does not need to leave the house. When I said he took pride in his physical fitness I did not mean to say he is unfit now. He is a bit pudgy now, but not unfit or fat. He just feels like he is being fat and useless because fitness is so important for him. So you think him not wanting to see my family is a bad sign?

@MyWineTime: That is why I am asking for help. I really do want him to enjoy life again. Currently we are not doing much but we are young and it is not like I am and also not like he is.

@PinkSparklyPussyCat: it's the reason why I am asking. I want to know how it affects him and how I can help.

PinkSparklyPussyCat Sun 12-Feb-17 22:33:26

Sorry Lavinia, my post was harsh. DH gets frustrated with his deafness and it was pretty hard when the hearing aids didn't really help. DH has found that, by telling people he's partially deaf, it's easier for him.

Was your DH's hearing loss sudden? DH's has been gradual - he couldn't hear the alarm on the oven, then he couldn't hear certain car alarms and he can't hear the smoke alarm, although his ears vibrate! (We're changing that for a Nest alarm that speaks as I worry about that!)

Regarding isolating himself, do you have a favourite restaurant and maybe go on a quiet night, just to help him get his confidence back a bit? Maybe then you could build up to going somewhere else, or on another, perhaps busier night.

TinklyLittleLaugh Sun 12-Feb-17 22:43:30

If he had some sort of lip reading lessons (if there is such a thing) would that help?

I am physically disabled and get a bit down from time to time. l hate to feel a burden (though DH never ever complains). I am sometimes an old grump though.

MyWineTime Sun 12-Feb-17 22:53:26

Can you really not imagine at all what it must be like for him?
It's like you want him to be the same as he was before, but he can't because he isn't.
Put some earplugs in and go out to do normal things - see how much of an impact it has on you.
There are 2 parts to how he is affected - emotional and practical. Both are valid and cannot be ignored. You can't deal with one without the other.
Emotional support so he doesn't feel like he is a waste of space and a burden.
Practical support so he is able to enjoy things as much as possible - I don't know if there are support organisations that can help with that.

geekymommy Mon 13-Feb-17 01:15:19

It's difficult for a lot of hard of hearing people to understand what people are saying when there's background noise. That might be why he doesn't like restaurants. He may have trouble hearing what's going on in films, which might make the cinema less enjoyable.

Suppose instead of losing his hearing he had gone blind. You wouldn't expect a blind person to enjoy the cinema as much as they had when they could see, would you? He might not enjoy all the same activities as he did before he became disabled, and it's not fair to expect him to.

OnionKnight Mon 13-Feb-17 06:38:52

I think some people really do underestimate the impact that any kind of hearing loss can have, it is one of the most difficult disabilities because it can have an impact on absolutely everything. Okay most things can be resolved with gadgets etc but you cannot expect your husband to go about his life how he used to.

I use subtitles on Sky and Netflix, I very rarely go to the cinema unless it's a film I absolutely want to see because I won't understand what is going on unless I really concentrated and there's no kids kicking my chair or throwing popcorn.

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