Couple Challenges When One Spouse Acquires Hearing Impairment in Later Life: Recommendations From a Focus Group of Marriage and Family Therapists


couples, hearing loss, family therapy, aging, focus groups


We conducted an exploratory study of clinical recommendations for working with clients where one spouse has a hearing loss. A focus group with marriage and family therapists indicated themes around couple processes, possible hearing loss situations in therapy, and related aspects of the therapist–client relationship. Specifically, therapists suggested that gender influences, communication processes, and caregiver processes were likely to influence couple dynamics. Therapists identified hearing loss issues to address in therapy, such as alterations in communication routines and coming to an acceptance of the loss. They also recommended intervention techniques, such as treating the hearing loss of one spouse as a systemic challenge and providing psychoeducation. Last, they suggested that clinicians be aware of aspects of the therapist–client relationship that might reflect, or be a parallel process to, couple dynamics related to hearing loss.

Original Publication Citation

Yorgason, J.B., Piercy, F.P., & Piercy, S.K. (2010). Couple challenges when one spouse acquires hearing impairment in later life: Recommendations from a focus group of Marriage and Family Therapists. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 21, 180-196.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Family Psychotherapy




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor