Loneliness is a feeling we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives, perhaps even more frequently in the past few years thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, what is likely an occasional feeling for most of us is a daily occurrence for some individuals. We’re talking about the connection between hearing loss and loneliness in people with less-than-perfect hearing.
Whether it’s simply a byproduct of the aging process or due to another cause, hearing loss can and does affect people in different ways. Some individuals recognize the signs of hearing loss and immediately do something about it. They schedule a hearing test with an audiologist, find out the extent of their hearing loss, and explore hearing loss treatment options. Then, they follow their audiologist’s recommendations and continue to live life to the fullest.
The Silent Connection Between Hearing Loss and Loneliness
Far more common, however, are the individuals who ignore the warning signs altogether. Or, they recognize that they have a problem but choose to let their hearing loss go untreated. Sadly, these are the people who often experience social isolation or loneliness as a result.
People with hearing loss often find it difficult to engage in conversations, hang out with a group of people, or visit noisy environments such as restaurants. That’s because they can’t hear well, have to ask others to repeat themselves, and sounds often become garbled when multiple people are present or if there’s a lot of background noise. Over time, they may reduce their social outings and in the process, their contacts, causing them to lead a life of isolation.
While some people actually prefer solitude, many do not, but those with hearing loss may find it preferable to situations they can’t engage in anyway. A life of social isolation then often leads to loneliness – a disparity between the social interactions you’d like to have and the ones you actually experience.
Unfortunately, loneliness isn’t the end of the road either. It often leads to an increased risk of suicide, depression, and anxiety. In fact, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) goes so far as to say that “loneliness and social isolation can be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
So, is there a solution? Could wearing hearing aids or undergoing another type of hearing loss treatment help? Or, are individuals with hearing loss simply destined to a life of loneliness and solitude?
Hearing Loss Treatment and Loneliness Prevention
Researchers continue to study the connection between the treatment of hearing loss and the prevalence of loneliness in people with this condition. Although more studies need to be done to show whether or not hearing loss treatment can actually prevent loneliness, one thing is clear – those individuals who do seek treatment often report a higher quality of life than those who do not.
While hearing loss treatment is often associated with hearing aids, these devices aren’t the only solution. Some individuals find that assistive listening devices are helpful while others require something more advanced to improve their hearing, such as a cochlear implant. In any case, an audiologist can work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your specific type and severity of hearing loss.
The truth is, life is short so why not enjoy every possible moment? At Advanced Hearing Group, we believe that when you can hear well, you can also live well. So, whether that means finding the best hearing aids or utilizing another method to improve your hearing, we’re committed to helping you overcome hearing loss and loneliness so you can enjoy the world around you.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our Mesa or Scottsdale audiologists and experience the beauty of sound!
Source: Hear Well-Live Well Blog