World of Sound Blog

Social Isolation Due to Hearing Loss

Shawn Stahmer - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Businessman suffering from hard of hearingHearing loss often occurs gradually and is not detected early on by the person affected. Untreated hearing loss causes, among other things, social isolation. This could happen to people in any age group.

It is not that a person with a hearing loss cannot hear, but it's the fact that they have to put forth more effort to keep up with a conversation. They find themselves needing visual cues and trying to put context together to understand the topic of conversation. More brainpower is needed to fill in the missing cues. More sustained effort is required and it becomes more of a struggle to keep up with a conversation. When you add other factors such as a noisy environment or a softer speaking person then the situation becomes more problematic for the listener with hearing loss.

Emotional Side-Effects

Once a person with hearing loss decides they do not want to put forth the effort and are tired of the struggle of trying to keep up with the conversation, they withdraw from the situation. This withdrawal can impact a person's life. The person decides to withdraw from social events, or if they do attend, they withdraw from conversations or interactions. When the latter happens, the person with the hearing loss is seen as not interested or may seem depressed because of their lack of communication. Friends and family often start to misunderstand or misdiagnose the person because they are not aware of their hearing loss. Eventually, the person with hearing loss may become depressed because of their social isolation.

According to the Better Hearing Institute, studies have linked untreated hearing loss to:

  • Irritability, negativism and anger
  • Fatigue, tension, stress, and depression
  • Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
  • Social rejection and loneliness

Up to two-thirds of adults older than 70 have some degree of hearing loss. Doctors don't routinely check for this problem, so it may be up to you to identify it. In some cases, doctors may misdiagnose the person with Dementia, Depression, or Alzheimer's because the person does not complain about hearing difficulties. Since it often comes on slowly, you may be unaware you are having a problem.

Sound Amplification

This could all be avoided if the proper steps are taken to diagnose a person's hearing loss and obtain amplification that would improve one's ability to communicate. The technology found in today's modern personal sound amplifiers helps the person with the ability to communicate in many different situations and environments. Amplification aims to manage hearing loss, not cure it.

Contact Sound World Solutions to learn more about our personal sound amplifiers