How Hearing Loss Treatment Can Lessen Loneliness

How Hearing Loss Treatment Can Lessen Loneliness

In Uncategorized by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A
Latest posts by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)

Hearing loss affects more than just your ears; it can also make you lonelier. That is the conclusion of recent research into the topic. But before we dive into the research, let’s take a look at what we mean by loneliness.

What does it mean to be lonely?

Loneliness is a subjective feeling that results from the difference between a person’s desired and actual social interaction levels. It refers to a person’s understanding of the quality of his or her relationships. Loneliness is never a pleasant feeling, and overcoming it can take a long time.

On the other hand, social isolation is more about the number of interactions that a person has. It’s all about the number of relationships, not the quality. When they feel socially lonely, those who face social isolation can quickly resolve this with the number of people they interact with.

Is there a connection between loneliness and social isolation?

Loneliness and social isolation are two terms that are related but not identical. Loneliness can lead to social isolation, and loneliness can lead to social isolation. Both can happen at the same time.

Throughout a person’s life, they may experience social isolation and loneliness, moving in and out of these states as their circumstances change.

Loneliness and social isolation have many things in common, like declining health and sensory and mobility impairments, making it more likely for people to experience both.

Hearing loss-related social isolation has recently been investigated in a study published by the University of British Columbia. The researchers looked at the effects of hearing loss on social isolation and quantified their findings.

Research

The UBC researchers discovered that untreated hearing problems increase the risk of alienation and substantially accelerate cognitive aging in seniors aged 60 to 69. The study’s participants’ hearing loss was measured using a pure-tone test. Seniors with severe hearing loss who did not believe their hearing was affected and those admitted to having hearing problems but had not sought diagnosis or treatment were included in the study.

The risk of being isolated increased by 52 percent for every 10 decibels of hearing sensitivity lost among undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss patients. Another interesting conclusion of the research was that a ten-decibel decrease in hearing sensitivity was equal to approximately four years of cognitive aging. As we age, our cognitive capacity gradually decreases, but hearing loss accelerates this process significantly.

Although losing 10 decibels of sound sensitivity has serious health consequences, losing 20 decibels raises a person’s risk of social isolation by over 100 percent. 

The Detrimental Effects of Social Isolation

Social isolation has a significant negative effect on one’s mental and physical well-being. Similar to anxiety and depression, it induces mental discomfort and a decrease in quality of life. Isolation has a significant impact on mortality rates, comparable to smoking and alcohol effects on lifespan.

Social Isolation and Hearing Loss

Hearing loss and social isolation are linked directly. Our ability to comprehend and communicate efficiently is seriously impaired by untreated hearing loss. Many types of age-related hearing loss grow slowly over time, making changes in hearing challenging to identify. The onset of social isolation can appear subtle when a progressive decrease in hearing capacity is combined with corresponding increased communication difficulties.

Recognizing the subtle symptoms of hearing loss is essential. You might avoid social interactions such as gatherings or dinners because you can’t follow a discussion or comprehend what’s being said. It may be a warning that you’re having hearing difficulties that need to be addressed. It also emphasizes our inclination to avoid situations in which we have difficulty interacting, reinforcing our isolation. Similarly, avoiding visits and phone calls with family and loved ones because you don’t feel you cannot communicate properly may indicate that hearing issues need to be examined.

Finding the solution

The good news is that hearing loss does not need to be overlooked. Confronting hearing loss will support you as well as help you reconnect with friends and family. Hearing aids have grown increasingly discreet and now come with modern innovations that help people hear better than ever.

If you’ve experienced changes in your hearing or found yourself avoiding social situations as outlined above, it’s time to contact us and schedule a hearing test. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team is dedicated to assisting people in achieving healthy hearing. Give us a call, and we’ll set up an appointment for you right away!