Loneliness and Hearing Loss

Hearing aids can help overcome loneliness

This week is Loneliness Awareness Week 15th-19th June 2020. Hearing loss and loneliness are often linked. 1 in 5 people have hearing loss, which is strongly linked to loneliness. It’s not hard to understand how hearing loss can lead to feelings of loneliness. Humans are social creatures, and if communication becomes challenging, those with hearing loss may choose to minimise interactions, opt out of invitations, and socially isolate themselves.

Conversations, communication and socialising are fundamental to our overall health and wellbeing. The situation with COVID-19 has presented additional challenges in staying connected and socially active as we protect ourselves and our loved ones by isolating and social distancing. People need to feel a connection with others in their daily lives to prevent being isolated and feelings of loneliness. Hearing well has never been so important to ensure we stay connected and help prevent feelings of loneliness.

The High Price of Loneliness

Loneliness can impact our health too. A 2012 New York Times article, opens with this: “Loneliness stings at any age. But in older people, it can have serious health consequences, raising the risks of an earlier-than-expected death and the loss of physical functioning.”

New study finds hearing aid use can be a buffer against loneliness 

In 2015, researchers from New York and Austria wanted to see if wearing hearing aids reduced the feelings of loneliness experienced by older adults with hearing loss. The results of their study were published in the March 2016 American Journal of Audiology.

In the study, the researchers noted “a significant decline in perceptions of loneliness following 4 to 6 weeks of hearing aid use,” and concluded that “hearing aid use appears to be a buffer against the experience of loneliness.

Source: National Public Radio


*Unlike social isolation, which is objective (you either have and maintain social connections or you don’t), loneliness is subjective. Loneliness is a feeling. And it’s a feeling one can have even if they’re married or surrounded by others — just as it’s possible to live alone, yet not feel lonely.

By Starkey Hearing Technologies blog