Although it can be easy to assume that hearing loss only impacts a person’s hearing, it doesn’t. Think about it: Humans are incredibly social creatures. Unfortunately for those with hearing loss, our social interactions heavily depend on our ability to hear. As such, losing one’s ability to hear can significantly impact one’s quality of life.
If you have age-related hearing loss, you are at greater risk for social isolation. The rise in social isolation amongst those with hearing loss has become so apparent that even researchers have explored the connection between the two. The good news, however, is that most common forms of hearing loss can be treated.
Today, we will discuss how having trouble hearing can lead to social isolation, and oftentimes other mental health concerns as well.
What is Social Isolation?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, social isolation can be defined as, “Loneliness that can affect health. People who are socially isolated have little day-to-day contact with others, have few fulfilling relationships, and lack a sense of belonging.” In this way, social isolation bears many similarities to depression.
Although social isolation among older adults is not often discussed, more people experience it than you may think. Connect2Affect (C2A), an organization dedicated to the issue, notes that more than 8 million adults over the age of 50 are impacted by social isolation. Nevertheless, older adults are not the only ones affected by this condition.
In 2016, the American Journal of Public Health published an article discussing who is most at risk for social isolation. Those at greatest risk for this condition include elderly people, American men over women, and those from minority groups. That being said, age group and ethnicity are not the only risk factors for this condition.
According to C2A, additional causes may include poor access to transportation, significant life changes, societal barriers, and poor health. Within the category of ‘poor health and well-being,’ untreated hearing loss is noted as a risk factor.
Another aspect of dealing with hearing loss may be anxiety. To learn more, read our blog on How to Deal with Anxiety and Hearing Loss: A Hearing Aid Can Help.
Untreated Hearing Loss Leads to Social Isolation
But what is the link between hearing loss and social isolation?
In 2012, the National Center for Biotechnology Information published a revealing meta-analysis. By reviewing studies from the last decade, the researchers explored how hearing loss affects the quality of life of elderly adults. Nearly one-third of them reported fair to poor health and lower satisfaction with “‘life as a whole.’”
The study attributed this decrease in quality of life to the communication struggles associated with hearing loss. Unfortunately, those with hearing loss often find themselves missing out on bits and pieces of conversations. In this way, some people choose to isolate themselves rather than face changes associated with social interactions.
Unfortunately, social isolation doesn’t merely lead to loneliness. In fact, the condition has been found to lead to other health issues as well. Through social isolation, people put themselves at high risk of being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and even cognitive decline.
Treating Hearing Loss Prevents Social Isolation
For those experiencing isolation due to hearing loss, there is hope: hearing aids. At Advanced Affordable Hearing, we offer hearing aids at a price you can afford. You won’t even need to visit an audiologist: Our hearing aids are pre-programmed to the most common hearing losses.
To get started, simply use our Online Hearing Check to find out what level of hearing loss you are experiencing, then give us a call at 1 (800) 804-0434. We can help you find the perfect pair of hearing aids!