Is Your Hearing Loss Making You Feel Isolated?

woman with hearing loss

You know you’re having some problems hearing and you worry that you might have a hearing loss.  Your friends and family members seem to point out what you’re missing or how often they have to repeat information every day now.  But are you aware of exactly how that might be impacting you on a daily basis?

Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss

A study conducted by the Seniors Research Group, an alliance between the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and Market Strategies, Inc. “debunked the myth that untreated hearing loss…is a harmless condition.”

The survey of 2,300 hearing-impaired adults age 50 and older 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.

The survey found that significantly more of the seniors with untreated hearing loss reported feelings of sadness or depression that lasted two or more weeks during the previous years. Because social isolation is a serious problem for some older people, the study also examined social behavior and found that people who don’t use hearing aids are considerably less likely to participate in social activities. Among respondents with a more severe loss of hearing, 42 percent of hearing aid users participate regularly in social activities compared to just 32 percent of non-users.

Dr. Frank Lin and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University found a strong link between the degree of hearing loss and the risk of developing dementia. Individuals with mild loss of hearing were twice as likely to develop dementia as those with normal hearing, those with moderate hearing loss were three times more likely, and those with a severe loss had five times the risk.

Benefits of Hearing Aid Use

The National Council on Aging study referenced earlier also found that when people began to use hearing aids, many saw improvements in their lives in the following areas:

  • Relations at home
  • Feelings about self
  • Relations with children, grandchildren

If you are experiencing signs of hearing loss, please contact our office, we can help.