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Being lonely every now and again is normal. We’ve all had days when we feel lonely or sad, often because of some event that happened in our lives. Loneliness usually only lasts for a few days, and then you start to feel optimistic again. However, for many older Americans, feeling lonely has become the new normal. This has some major implications for your overall health and wellbeing. One study even found that lonely older adults may pass away much sooner than happy adults.
Can Hearing Loss Cause Loneliness?
There are numerous factors that can cause loneliness. Older adults experience a lot of life changes, such as retiring, having a health condition, or even experiencing the loss of a spouse.
Hearing loss can exacerbate loneliness. Hearing is a vital part of easy communication for most adults. When you have a hard time following conversations, it makes sense that your social life will take a hit. You may find yourself asking loved ones to repeat themselves over and over again. It can be frustrating when you just can’t hear, and you keep misunderstanding what’s being said. Sometimes it’s easier not to have a conversation at all.
When your hearing loss makes it difficult to have conversations with your family, you have a higher risk of feeling lonely. You may feel isolated and cut off from your loved ones, and feel alone in the world.
Hearing Loss and Social Isolation
Hearing loss can also lead to a broader feeling of social isolation. When you have untreated hearing loss, it can be very difficult to hear in places with background noise. Everyone talks at once, and you have a hard time figuring out which sounds are words, and which sounds are just background noise.
Before long, you may stop going to social events because it’s too embarrassing to mishear everything being said. When you stay home alone, you have a much higher risk of social isolation, and increased feelings of loneliness and sadness.
Hearing Loss and Your Personality
Hearing loss affects every part of your life. When you can’t hear clearly, you can’t make the quick jokes that used to keep your family on their toes. You don’t laugh at the right times in conversations or know if you’re supposed to smile or frown. Your loved ones will have a harder time having conversations with you, and may think your personality is changing.
Hearing loss also makes it much harder to hear the sounds around you. For example, a friend may see you across the street or down the hall, and shout hello. If you never hear or respond, they’ll think you’re being rude and ignoring them on purpose. This further damages your relationships with friends.
Hearing Loss and Your Physical Health
Hearing loss can impact your physical health. Your sense of hearing helps you locate sounds around you, keeping track of where people and objects are. If you’re walking down the street and you can’t hear the person calling back their dog, you might be extremely surprised when a dog rushes past your feet. You’re more likely to be caught off guard, lose your balance and fall.
Hearing loss is linked to a higher rate of accidents and falls. When you don’t feel safe and confident when driving or walking, you’re even less likely to go out with friends and stay social. This is another way that hearing loss can make you feel lonely.
How to Lessen Loneliness
There is a solution! Treating hearing loss with a quality pair of hearing aids can lessen loneliness. When you wear hearing aids calibrated to your hearing needs, you can hear conversations again. You won’t have to struggle to fill in the blanks or guess at what people have said. Instead, you’ll be able to participate in the conversation and stay social.
We’re finally starting to understand how hearing loss affects all these other areas of life. Hearing loss isn’t a harmless side effect of aging. It’s a major health concern that affects people of all ages. Hearing loss impacts your mental, emotional, and even physical health. Don’t let hearing loss lead to loneliness. Visit us today and find out what hearing aids can do for you.