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Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Socially Connected

In Family and Relationships, Hearing Loss by Michael L. Schneller, HIS

Michael L. Schneller, HIS

Michael’s father, Lee F. Schneller, started his first hearing clinic in Garden City, Kansas in 1971. The foundation of hearing aid knowledge Michael acquired while working in the state of Kansas helped pave the way so Michael could expand his studies in California, Minnesota, and Florida.
Michael L. Schneller, HIS

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Untreated hearing loss has social and physical implications, especially for seniors. Unfortunately, many adults view hearing loss as a benign condition that occurs as you age and you should just deal with it. At Focus Hearing we don’t think hearing loss is something you should deal with. Hearing loss can lead to depression, high blood pressure, hypertension, anxiety, a higher incidence of falls, isolation and longer hospital stays.

Reading through that list – don’t you think it’s in your best interest to call Focus Hearing today and schedule a hearing evaluation? Don’t isolate yourself because of untreated hearing loss.

Isolation and Older Adults

An AARP Foundation study found 17% of adults age 65 and older are isolated from the rest of society and 26% are at increased risk of early death due to feelings of loneliness. Women are more at risk than men, the study found 46% of women age 75 and older live alone. Isolation is a growing health epidemic and more than 8 million adults age 50 and older are affected by isolation. The health risks of social isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day!
Loneliness and isolation are two separate things. Loneliness is how people perceive their experience and whether or not they feel isolated. Isolation can be measured quantitatively, such as the size of one’s social network, frequency of outside engagement, availability of transportation and the ability to access resources and information.

The AARP study examined root causes of isolation and poor health including untreated hearing loss was the number two prevalent cause for isolation. The first was transportation challenges such as the lack of accessible and affordable transportation options and revocation of driving privileges. Remember, untreated hearing loss can lead to driver’s license revocation. Poor health and well-being were the number two cause of isolation including untreated hearing loss and mobility issues.

There might be a perception an individual is being anti-social because they cut phone conversations short and don’t want to go out anymore, but it might be due to untreated hearing loss. The individual might miss talking to people more, but because phone conversations are a struggle – they opt out of them. Not going out might have a financial factor due to fixed income, but untreated hearing loss makes conversation less than enjoyable in a noisy environment.

Isolation has Serious Consequences

A study by the National Council on Aging debunks the myth that untreated hearing loss in older adults is a harmless condition. The survey found of 2,300 hearing impaired adults 50 and older, those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety and paranoia and were less likely to participate in any organized social activity compared to those who used hearing aids. Among respondents with severe hearing loss, 42% of hearing aid users participate in social activities compared to 32% of non-users.

Barriers to Hearing Aid Use

Why are seniors not using hearing aids even though numerous studies prove they improve the quality of their lives? More than two-thirds of the older, non-hearing aid users said they didn’t wear hearing aids because their hearing wasn’t bad enough to warrant their use or they said they could “get along” without treating their hearing loss. About one-half cited the cost. As an aside, at Focus Hearing we work with numerous hearing aid manufacturers and we can help you find hearing aids you can afford and fit your lifestyle.

One in five respondents said they were too embarrassed to wear a hearing aid. Let’s look at this logically – why would you be embarrassed to correct your hearing but not be embarrassed to correct your vision with eyeglasses? Or use a walker or cane to improve your mobility?

Benefits of Treatment

Hearing aid users reported significant improvements in many areas of their lives ranging from relationships at home to a sense of independence in their social lives. Families of hearing aid users were also polled as part of the study and they reported improvements. Improved areas included: relations at home, feelings about self, life overall, relationships with children and grandchildren, mental health, self-confidence, sense of safety, social life, relationships, and employment.

Focus Hearing

The professionals at Focus Hearing are here to help you reconnect with a full spectrum of sound again! We even offer a risk-free trial period so you can be sure your hearing aids will do what you want them to do.