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Do you struggle to follow conversations, and strain to hear in places with a lot of background noise? Have you been feeling socially isolated, or struggle with loneliness? Around 17% of seniors report feeling isolated, and it’s estimated that 26% of seniors risk early illness and even death due to feelings of isolation and reduced quality of life. One strong predicator of feeling lonely is your level of hearing loss, and seniors who can’t hear very well report feeling far more isolated than their hearing peers.
Hearing Loss and Social Isolation
If you have hearing loss, you’ve probably been experiencing social isolation. When you had clear hearing, you loved meeting friends for a drink, or inviting the family over for dinner. As your hearing got worse, you weren’t able to communicate as easily as you used to, and you struggled to follow conversations, especially in places with a lot of background noise or in large groups of people. Have you started saying no to invitations? Do you feel like it’s easier to stay home alone than to face the stress of straining to hear, or risking the embarrassment of mishearing a question and answering inappropriately? Do you worry that your friends are annoyed with your when you ask them to repeat themselves several times? Avoiding social interactions leads to isolation, and those with hearing loss are far more likely to report struggling with loneliness and depression.
Seniors living with untreated hearing loss become more isolated as their hearing loss deteriorates, they struggle to have meaningful conversations, and avoid social situations. While it might seem like a good idea to avoid going out and not accepting invitations, it won’t be long before you start to lose touch with the people that mean the most to you.
Louder Isn’t Always Better
If you’ve been struggling to hear, you might think that if everyone just spoke a little louder, you’d be able to understand what was said. Sadly, that’s not how hearing loss works. When you have sensorineural hearing loss, sounds not only seem muffled and quiet, but they often loose their clarity. Even if the sounds you’re focusing on are louder, or you convince your friends to shout, the clarity of the speech will be lost, and you won’t be able to make sense of what’s been said. You might feel like you’re always confronted by a wall of sound, and your ears and brain are unable to separate important speech sounds from all the other sounds around you.
Treating hearing loss with a quality pair of hearing aids will enhance not just the volume, but the clarity of sounds as well. Your devices will amplify the sounds that are too soft, reduce distracting background noises, enhance speech sounds, and make it easier for you to hear. With untreated hearing loss, you often mishear consonant sounds, but with hearing aids you’ll be able to easily distinguish between sounds, and understand speech. You’ll also be able to localize sounds better, and immediately know where a sound is coming from.
Joining the Conversation
If you’ve been struggling with hearing loss and can’t quite follow what’s been said, it’s hard to participate in conversations, and you might find yourself smiling and nodding along, but not actually understanding anything that’s been said, or being able to express your opinions. To stay socially active, you need to get back into the conversation, and to do that you need to hear.
Treating hearing loss is the first step to staying socially connected. With a quality pair of hearing devices, you’ll be able to hear easily in any listening environment. Those who treat their hearing loss feel closer to loved ones, enjoy their social lives, and are connected in their communities. They stay more active, leave the house more often, and enjoy an improved quality of life. They also experience less cognitive decline, and have lower rates of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’ve been struggling to hear, can’t follow conversations, and are worried about social isolation, then call us today at Elite Hearing to schedule a hearing test. We’ll assess your unique hearing needs, and suggest the perfect devices that will allow you to stay socially connected.