Hearing loss creates a very real silent barrier for over 15 million individuals living in the United States. For many this can means feelings of isolation and being disconnected from family and friends and the shared experiences that make life worth living.
In a 2016 study by Johns Hopkins and the University of Oklahoma, researchers measured loneliness in 145 participants and found that hearing loss was significantly correlated with greater loneliness, with individuals less likely to participate in social activity and more likely to report sadness and depression.
By minimizing this silent barrier of hearing loss and reconnecting patients with the outside world through appropriate fitted amplification, audiologists across the country are helping to address these loneliness and isolation factors, lowering the likelihood of individuals feeling left out and isolated.
Here are some tips to help address staying involved with family and friends:
• Acknowledge your hearing loss to others – friends and family cannot help or understand if they
don’t know you have difficulty hearing
• Look at the person who’s talking – almost every one can read lips even without trying
• Be assertive – let the person you are talking with know that they should get your attention
before speaking, and that you will understand better if they talk more slowly
The first step in managing hearing loss is a comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluation to determine the type and degree of hearing loss. Studies have proven that persons with hearing loss who are appropriately aided have significantly improved listening, feel more connected to family and friends and feel better about their overall health and quality of life.
For more information, contact Debbie Gamache’s Hearing Center at 393-2051.