The aim of this inductive study was to describe, from the perspective of the spouses, their experiences of living close to a male with severe noise-induced hearing loss. An additional aim was to generate the first step of a theory of how these spouses managed their daily life. The study sample consisted of 10 strategically selected females who differed in age, educational status, number of children and years of marital relationship. Verbatim transcribed thematized interviews were analysed according to a method influenced by the constant comparative method for grounded theory. Two main variables, or core concepts, were identified: the husband's reluctance to acknowledge hearing difficulties and the impact of hearing loss on the intimate relationship. Combinations of these main variables were related to four qualitatively different strategies used by the spouses: co-acting, minimizing, mediating and distancing strategies. It is suggested that the type of strategy chosen by the spouse influences the outcome of the audiological rehabilitation.