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Can Hearing Loss Lead to Social Isolation? A New Study’s Information

If you or a loved one has experienced hearing loss, you understand the myriad of challenges this issue can present. Hearing loss can impact your career, education, family life, and more. Because of the obvious difficulties hearing loss causes in communication generally, relationships are often greatly affected by this condition.

Furthermore, recent research has found that untreated hearing loss can increase the risk for a number of other conditions, including depression, anxiety, falls, and dementia. From health to interpersonal relationships, the effects of hearing loss are numerous and varied.

There’s no denying that hearing loss can affect a person’s personal and social life. If you have not experienced hearing loss, it may be difficult to fully comprehend how deeply hearing loss can impact how a person comprehends and behaves in social situations.

Imagine the following scenario: You decide to go to a gathering of a small group of friends. There are five or six of you, and you decide to meet at a restaurant to catch up with each other while enjoying food and drink. The challenges begin almost immediately when you arrive:

  • When you see one of your friends waiting outside of the restaurant, can you clearly understand what he is saying to you? Do you have to ask him to repeat himself? Do you feel embarrassed when you still don’t fully understand what he says?
  • When one of your friends sees you as you’re walking into the restaurant and calls your name, do you hear her? When you finally notice her, do you worry that she thought you were ignoring her when you didn’t respond sooner?
  • Once you sit down with your friends, the server comes to take everyone’s orders. Can you understand the questions the server asks you about your order? Are you sure you have clearly communicated exactly how you want your meal to be cooked?
  • When the conversation with your friends gets in full swing, are you able to understand everyone? Can you keep up with the entire conversation—even with your friends sitting at the opposite end of the table? Do you worry that you are missing parts of your friends’ conversation? Are you sure that what you say is relevant to what is currently being discussed? What if someone else has already said what you say, but you just didn’t hear it?

The challenges for people with hearing loss in social situations go on and on. You can understand how these difficulties also affect personal relationships like those between spouses or partners, parents and children, and more. If you faced these difficulties at every social activity and event, you would probably find yourself attending fewer and fewer activities, simply because of the challenges presented there.

With this understanding, the results of a recent study are of little surprise: Adults over the age of 50 with untreated hearing loss were found to be less likely to participate in organized social activities than adults with hearing loss who wear hearing aids.

The truth is that you are more likely to experience hearing loss as you age, and many people do not treat their hearing loss. If you believe that you or a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss, we urge you to contact our hearing practice today. Our audiologist and team are prepared to help you receive the treatment and care you need to continue living your best life—full of satisfying personal and social interactions.

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