Hearing Loss and Social Isolation

It’s summer and therefore time for cookouts, weddings, and catching up with family and friends. These events should be positive situations and something to look forward to; but for people with hearing loss, these environments may bring feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and sadness.

Untreated hearing loss is linked to social isolation. Asking people to repeat themselves, not being able to follow a conversation, and feeling left out are all experiences that people with untreated hearing loss face in social situations. People with untreated hearing loss start to remove themselves from social environments to limit frustration and embarrassment. It is easy for these individuals to give up and take themselves away from these situations, because they feel like they are unable to fully participate.

The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) surveyed 2,300 hearing impaired adults age 50 and older and found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in the United States. Social isolation is a serious problem for some older people.  If you suspect that you or a loved one are experiencing social isolation due to an untreated hearing loss, contact an audiologist today to have your hearing tested and to find the best solution for you.