When you have hearing loss, it can make communication difficult. And when you can’t communicate well, you may start withdraw socially, avoiding people and hobbies you once enjoyed like card games at El Pueblo Senior Citizen Center because it’s just not the same anymore. Over time, this can lead to feelings of loneliness and affect other aspects of your health and quality of life.
Fortunately, hearing loss and loneliness don’t have to go hand-in-hand. Hearing aids can improve your communication, your relationships with loved ones and your overall well-being.
The Link Between Hearing Loss & Loneliness
The researchers examined data from 1,511 participants and concluded that the odds of developing severe or very severe loneliness increase by 7% for every decibel signal to noise ratio. Loneliness was the biggest issue among participants ages 18 to 30. The group that was ages 40 to 50 had the highest number of significant associations.
The Effects of Loneliness
Nobody wants to experience an emotion like loneliness, but research reported by the CDC shows that loneliness can actually impact your health. In fact, loneliness and social isolation are correlated with:
- 50% increased chance of dementia.
- 32% increased chance of stroke.
- 29% increased risk of heart disease.
- Greater chance of early death.
Hearing Aids Can Help
Studies have shown that hearing aids can help with feelings of loneliness.
One small study published in the American Journal of Audiology in 2016 sought to uncover the effects hearing aid use has on perceived social and emotional loneliness.
Participants included 40 older adults who completed the De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale prior to a hearing aid fitting. They completed the screener again after four to six weeks of hearing aid usage.
Researchers found that the participants reported a significant decline in perceptions of loneliness after four to six weeks. People with moderate-to-severe hearing loss experienced the greatest reduction in perceived loneliness.
According to researchers, “Perceived loneliness is a challenge to treat. Hearing aid use appears to be a buffer against the experience of loneliness.”
For more information about how hearing aids can help treat loneliness or to schedule an appointment, call Arizona Desert ENT Specialists today.