Protect Seniors from Social Isolation

Protect Seniors from Social Isolation

The ratio of people in the United States with hearing loss might surprise you, and it is a condition that largely affects our Senior population. Currently, about 30 percent of those over the age of 65 have some degree of degradation to their previously healthy hearing. Hearing loss is an experience that can be isolating in and of itself, but when combined with other aging-related factors, the prospect of losing social contacts and close relationships is magnified. The bright side is the growing consensus that relieving older people’s hearing loss can greatly improve their ability to engage with others. Read on for ways to protect Seniors from social isolation.

Factors That Encourage Social Withdrawal In Seniors

Opportunities to withdraw from society and become socially isolated abound during the senior years of life. It’s culturally normal to retire, eliminating the daily workplace interactions that make up a bulk of many peoples social interactions. While it’s a good practice to establish pathways of socializing and relationship building in one’s community or faith practice over a lifetime, the cultural emphasis on productivity and work tend to make these types of non-employment social hubs nonexistent. The truth is that a majority of folks simply don’t have the time for extracurriculars! 

And while retiring is in some aspects a fulfillment of the American Dream, we often forget that the social connections we engage in on a daily basis serve a crucial human need. Social interaction is crucial to maintaining sound mental health.

In the later stages of life, it’s also common to experience the death of a spouse, partner and close family. When these relationships are disrupted, it’s more difficult for seniors to resiliently replace them. Another factor is the decreased mobility we associate with aging. It becomes harder to autonomously function in the world, with numerous factors compounding the issue including physical health and cognitive function. 

Adding to all of this is the problem of hearing loss. Fortunately, it’s also a problem that’s simple to fix. 

Intervene In Early Hearing Loss

In order to treat hearing loss, we first must confront the condition. Unfortunately, many people wait until their hearing is severely impacting quality of life before intervening. 

It can be challenging to self-diagnose because the symptoms develop gradually, so elderly individuals sometimes put off getting a diagnosis for years or even decades. The average person with hearing loss waits about ten years before choosing treatment.

Intervening early can combat the cycle of putting off treatment so that choosing a solution like hearing aids has the opportunity to restore a fair degree of hearing lost. It can help seniors maintain those important social connections and willingness to participate in hobbies and activities that prevent harmful social isolation.

Why Social Isolation Causes Harm

Damage to our ability to communicate with the outside world is at the heart of what hearing loss is all about. The daily and even innocuous noises of life, like rain on the roof or birds singing in the spring, are the first to go. And while they may not feel integral to life, their loss can become a slippery slope into withdrawing further from life. 

As hearing loss progresses, interpersonal interaction becomes more demanding. Participating in conversations, with loved ones or mundane exchanges with strangers, is both frustrating and exhausting. As a coping mechanism to avoid these negative emotions, choosing to withdraw from conversation is a normal reaction. Unfortunately, this self-protecting measure is the first step in a greater withdrawal from human connection. Depression and other mental and emotional problems are more likely to follow. 

The Benefits Of Addressing Hearing Loss In Seniors

Early diagnosis and treatment is optimal if you or a loved one suspect that hearing loss is affecting your social and emotional well-being. Only by starting treatment early can we attempt to  limit the progression of age-related hearing loss, which is a degenerative disorder.

It Is Now Easier Than Ever To Treat Hearing Loss

However, we can now effectively and gently manage hearing loss, eliminating a major barrier to living vibrantly in our aging years. The field of hearing loss solutions, boosted by advancements in technology,  has expanded at a rapid rate. There are proven and successful treatments for all types of hearing loss. 

Schedule A Visit With Our Team Today

Taking the first step in treating hearing loss can be intimidating, but our team is here to guide you through a simple hearing exam. From there, we’ll be able to determine if you are a good candidate for hearing aids and get you on the path to your healthiest possible hearing.