Association Between Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Hearing Loss

Association Between Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Hearing Loss

by | Sep 30, 2023 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

You may have seen or heard about a recent article published by CNN Health that references a study with some pretty shocking statistics.

The study reveals that those who experience social isolation have a 32 percent higher risk of premature death compared to those who don’t experience social isolation.  

It’s a horrifying thing to think about. 

  • Higher risk of premature death compared to those who don’t experience social isolation. 32% 32%
  • More likely to die early than those who do not experience loneliness. 14% 14%

The study also shows that people who feel lonely for prolonged periods are 14 percent more likely to die early than those who do not experience loneliness. 

Based on a comprehensive meta-analysis that examined 90 studies and involved over two million adults, the study provides compelling evidence linking loneliness, social isolation, and a risk of serious health outcomes. 

So, What Does This Have to do With Hearing?  

Well, when I read this article, my mind immediately went to the relationship between untreated hearing loss and social isolation. These conditions are closely connected.  

It’s common for people who experience hearing loss to delay seeking treatment. And as hearing loss worsens and remains untreated, it can lead to some serious mental and physical health concerns.  

Hearing loss can make going about your daily routine a difficult task. When you’re unable to hear well, even something as simple as going to the grocery store can be a hurdle. It’s no fun having to ask others to repeat themselves over and over.  

Often, people with untreated hearing loss begin to isolate themselves from others because it’s easier than dealing with the frustration and embarrassment that can come from being unable to communicate well 

When you’re struggling to hear the world around you, it can feel easier to shut down and avoid social situations. 

The problem, as the study reveals, is that loneliness and social isolation can lead to some serious mental and physical health outcomes. Loneliness acts as a chronic stressor on the body, which triggers the release of stress hormones. And these stress hormones can impact the body in a negative way over time—leading to disease and even premature death. 

This information should be a call to action for healthcare professionals and public health policymakers. Something must be done about the mental health crisis around the world.  

The study also serves as a reminder that you should never delay seeking treatment for hearing loss. When hearing loss is left untreated, it can only get worse. I’ve seen first-hand several cases of hearing loss that have led to loneliness and social isolation. 

This is why I’m so passionate about encouraging others to get their hearing tested regularly. Just as you’d see your eye doctor or primary care doctor for an annual checkup, you should visit your audiologist on a regular basis. With proper care and early treatment, we can mitigate the negative and potentially dangerous side effects of hearing loss.  

Take the First Step Towards Better Hearing

If you or someone you know is experiencing hearing loss, don’t delay seeking treatment. And if you know someone who is beginning to isolate themself from the world around them, encourage them to get their hearing tested right away. Often, these behaviors can be explained by hearing loss and are easily treated. 

If you’re ready to book a comprehensive hearing assessment or if you have any questions that our team may be able to answer, please call us at 410-944-3100 to schedule your comprehensive hearing assessment.  

We’re always here to answer any questions you may have. 

Treating hearing loss

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Dr. Melissa Segev Au.D, F.A.A.A.

Dr. Segev, co-owner of Audiology Associates, proudly represents the values of excellent patient care upon which her practice was established in 1977. She understands that to properly treat the patient, excellent state-of-the-art medical testing is required along with acute listening and understanding of the patient’s perceptions of how they are feeling and what their needs might be.

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