Humans are inherently social beings. In fact, community is what sustains people.
Having a sense of belonging can help reduce stress and promote a sense of meaning and purpose. From a young age, most people effortlessly form friend groups through school, clubs, and sporting activities.
As people age, many people find themselves too busy to engage with their communities, or they may relocate to new places where they must build a new community as an adult.
For people with hearing loss, it can become difficult to engage with friends and loved ones, making it challenging to feel a part of one’s local community. In fact, “hearing loss is associated with a higher risk of loneliness and social isolation.” When one’s hearing becomes compromised, it makes it difficult to properly hear conversations in public settings. Many people may become discouraged and withdraw from situations in order to avoid stress and embarrassment.
In relation to such challenges, further research shows that “hearing status is negatively associated with higher distress and depression”. As hearing loss makes it more and more difficult for someone to engage in their community and experience the support and feeling of belonging that a community brings, they may begin to feel isolated and distressed by the situation.
But given that we as humans have an inherent need to feel connected and understood by those around us, these findings are fairly unsurprising.
The good news is that treating hearing loss with hearing aids has been proven to improve one’s quality of life and ability to communicate. In fact, hearing aid wearers report improvements in the following areas:
- Ability to communicate effectively
Hearing aids allow you to clearly hear conversations around you, making you feel more confident in everyday conversations and activities.
- Overall quality of life
Because hearing aids improve your ability communicate effectively, you naturally feel more confident about staying active and getting involved in the activities you love. By being able to engage confidently in your favorite activities, your overall quality of life may improve.
- Willingness to talk and engage in conversation
Most people with hearing loss are familiar with the feeling of wanting to withdraw from conversation due to their inability to hear properly. When you wear hearing aids, your newfound ability to hear clearly will make you eager to chat and engage with those around you.
- Ability to participate in group activities
If your hearing loss has you sitting out on a tennis match with friends or your weekly board game night, then wearing hearing aids will likely make you more eager to jump back into your favorite activities again.
- Improved work performance
Your improved ability to hear will likely improve your ability to participate in team gatherings and follow along during important meetings.
The benefits of hearing better far outweigh the initial hesitation of trying something new. Just imagine how much better you’ll feel when you can enjoy conversations and group activities again. Better hearing means a better quality of life for both you and your loved ones.
Kotifani, Aislinn. “What We Can Learn About Resilience & Community from Indigenous Leaders.” Blue Zones, Blue Zones, 12 Feb. 2021, www.bluezones.com/2020/06/what-we-can-learn-about-resilience-community-from-indigenous-leaders/.
Kotifani, A. (2020, June 2). Casual Friendships, Coworkers, and Even Your Outer Circle Influence Your Health. Blue Zones. https://www.bluezones.com/2020/04/casual-friendships-coworkers-and-even-your-outer-circle-influence-your-health/.
Shukla, A., Harper, M., Pedersen, E., Goman, A., Suen, J. J., Price, C., Applebaum, J., Hoyer, M., Lin, F. R., & Reed, N. S. (2020). Hearing Loss, Loneliness, and Social Isolation: A Systematic Review. Otolaryngology–head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 162(5), 622–633. https://doi.org/10.1177/0194599820910377
Nachtegaal, J., Smit, J. H., Smits, C., Bezemer, P. D., van Beek, J. H., Festen, J. M., & Kramer, S. E. (2009). The association between hearing status and psychosocial health before the age of 70 years: results from an internet-based national survey on hearing. Ear and hearing, 30(3), 302–312. https://doi.org/10.1097/AUD.0b013e31819c6e01
Marketrak 10, Market Research, Inc.