Hearing loss impact

Hearing loss can have a large impact on general health and wellbeing even when the hearing impairment is fairly mild.

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Most people initially notice that hearing when in background noise becomes difficult. This can lead to an avoidance of places where there is background noise preventing people from attending meetings, clubs, social events and sometimes restricting their participation in things they enjoy. This gradual social withdrawal can lead to depression and a general ‘slowing down’ as more time is spent at home. This general slowing down may lead to a decline in physical health as less time is spent going out and moving around. Spending less time around other people can lead to a loss in confidence and affect mental and emotional wellbeing giving rise to a poorer quality of life. Feelings of isolation and depression are common in the older population and the above problems will only serve to worsen this. Several studies appear to show a significant correlation between hearing impairment and cognitive decline with a beneficial slowing of cognitive decline in those fitted appropriately with hearing aids. There also appears to be a significantly higher incidence of falls among those with untreated hearing loss.

Hearing loss is also shown to affect relationships and have an impact on those close to the individual with the hearing impairment. Both hearing impaired people and their significant others report benefits from hearing aid use in terms of better relationships at home, more confidence, and better relationships with others. Family members actually report such benefits more often than the hearing impaired people themselves demonstrating that those affected are not always aware of how much they are missing out on.

Hearing loss is an often underestimated problem. It has been shown to negatively affect physical, cognitive, behavioural and social functions, as well as general quality of life and daily life is far more affected than most people would anticipate.