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How Hearing Loss Worsens Loneliness Among The Elderly

How Hearing Loss Worsens Loneliness Among The Elderly

How Hearing Loss Worsens Loneliness Among The Elderly

Coming to terms with hearing loss is understandably challenging at any age. The sudden need to make new adaptations in order to be able to carry out everyday activities can seem overwhelming, particularly in the early days, and many people in this position find that having the support of friends, family and co-workers is an integral factor in coming to terms with their “new normal”. However, for elderly people suffering from hearing loss, all too often, this vital support network is missing, which can lead to making the condition synonymous with increased loneliness.

A Troubling Correlation

Indeed, leading academic studies [1] have proven that hearing loss in older adults (those aged between 50 and 94 years of age) is frequently accompanied by symptoms of depression, poor emotional well-being and other side effects of loneliness. Sufferers felt that their hearing loss led to difficulties in communicating with others and other detrimental impacts on their quality of life, which led to feelings of isolation. Moreover, the loneliness was higher for those who were diagnosed with hearing loss at a younger age than those who were affected in their latest years.

The number of older people with such hearing problems is high, with chronic hearing loss now the third most common chronic health issue among the elderly [2]. Around a third of those aged above 65 are affected, making it a significant issue that must not be overlooked.

The Impact Of Hearing Loss

For those of us who enjoy good hearing, the impact of hearing impairment can be hard to fathom. Sufferers typically struggle with communication due to reduced speech perception, particularly in environments with background noise, such as coffee shops or retail stores. The pandemic has also introduced more difficulty for those who struggle to follow speech when they cannot follow lip movements, such as during mask wearing. Elderly people with hearing loss often struggle to hear the television or radio or notice a doorbell or a telephone ringing, all of which contribute to feelings of isolation.

The Impact Of Hearing Loss

As a result, elderly people with hearing loss frequently begin to withdraw from social activities and interacting with others, further cutting themselves off from any social benefits of a community life. This ultimately leads to a great deal of loneliness among this demographic. And loneliness itself is a worrying condition that has an effect on health that is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day [3], bringing harmful bodily changes such as high blood pressure, increased stress hormones, and a compromised immune system. Loneliness has even been found to increase the risk of dementia by 40%, and a premature death by 26% [4]

Tackling The Problem

HearingVite

Yet experts say that hearing loss should not be accepted as an inevitable part of growing older. While there is undoubtedly much more research to be done in this area, a good option for anybody hoping to maintain good hearing is to take a targeted dietary supplement like, some of which, including HearingVite, can also help to alleviate other common conditions associated with aging, such as memory loss. For those who are already affected by hearing impairment, studies show that using a hearing aid as soon as symptoms develop can make a powerful difference when it comes to staving off those feelings of social isolation. Wearing a hearing aid allows an elderly person to continue participating in their community life, enjoying conversations and other everyday social interactions. With today's latest hearing technology, wearing such a device need not be a cumbersome or uncomfortable experience, with products available to suit every need. A personal amplification device, such as the BHearing PSAP for example, can be the perfect solution for an older person who finds themselves starting to struggle with conversations in busy environments.

BHearing PSAP

Reaching Out

It's clear that more must be done to help elderly people who are living with hearing loss. For those who have older friends or relatives, it's vital that time is taken to understand how hearing loss could be affecting them and support them in finding a suitable treatment solution. Be aware of the warning signs, such as an elderly person withdrawing from church or other regular social activities, and be sure to check if difficulty hearing is the reason. There are charities that can help, such as the Hearing Loss Association Of America (HLAA) and the Hearing Health Foundation (HHF), both of which offer plenty of resources on the matter. Taking action can make a big difference to an elderly person's life, so reach out today.

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284554301_Association_of_Hearing_Loss_and_Loneliness_in_Older_Adults

[2] https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2353&context=gc_etds

[3] https://press.aarp.org/2016-12-07-AARP-Foundation-Draws-Attention-to-Social-Isolation-with-the-Launch-of-Connect2Affect

[4] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/09/12/760231279/untreated-hearing-loss-linked-to-loneliness-and-isolation-for-seniors?t=1631189152257