Hearing Loss, Social Isolation, Loneliness and the Ability to Communicate
Untreated hearing loss can affect the ability to communicate with family, friends and others, engage in social or group activities, live independently, feel self-confident, hear the doorbell or phone ring, play card/board games, and/or play sports. Thus, multiple articles and studies emphasize that hearing loss can cause or contribute to social isolation and/or loneliness.
- The Hidden Risks of Hearing Loss
- The Silent Impact of Hearing Loss: using longitudinal data to explore the effects on depression and social activity restriction among older people
- Preventive Care for Dementia and Hearing Loss
However, a 2014 published study reported only finding a correlation between hearing loss and social isolation in women aged 60 to 69.
The following studies found that hearing treatment can reduce social isolation and/or loneliness and/or improve social communication.
- The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss in Older Persons
- Relating Hearing Aid Use to Social and Emotional Loneliness in Older Adults
- Effects of hearing aids on cognitive functions and depressive signs in elderly people
In August 2017, when commenting on the Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid Act, James Battey, Director of NIDCD, stated that “With the help of effective hearing devices, people with hearing loss can again enjoy socializing with family and friends, and they will be less likely to miss important instructions from health providers or safety officials”.