Audiology

The Social Costs of Hearing Loss and How to Explain Them to a Loved One

The Social Costs of Hearing Loss and How to Explain Them to a Loved One

Much has been said about the medical and practical downsides of hearing loss. However, one aspect of hearing loss that doesn’t get discussed that much is the isolation that happen as a result of the condition.
Those with hearing loss almost always have trouble with communication. When such a problem develops, it’s typical for those with hearing loss to slowly begin to avoid the types of interactions that showcase the problem. Sometimes, when hearing loss develops over time, the person may get used to it and begin to think “this is just how things are”, instead of realizing that their quality of life has changed for the worse.
The inevitable end of hearing loss is a person who becomes increasingly isolated but frequently doesn’t have the self-awareness to understand that the isolation is stemming from the hearing loss. They might think that isolation is a natural effect of older age, or even worse, may assume that something about their personality makes other people not want to be around them.
A series of recent studies have reaffirmed the importance of a strong social network in the overall health of the individual. So, becoming increasingly withdrawn could eventually be detrimental to a person’s physical health.
If you notice the common signs of hearing loss in a loved one, you should encourage them to get a hearing exam. Even if you don’t see any signs of hearing loss but notice that your friend or loved one is becoming increasingly withdrawn or aloof, you should ask them about the possibility of having hearing loss.
No one wants to hear that they don’t have any friends, so when broaching the discussion with a loved one, it’s important to tread carefully. Mention the idea of a hearing exam but don’t necessarily link it to the person’s social life. If they agree to the test, this can help with both their hearing loss and their social withdrawal.
The results? Again and again, we’ve seen patients who were suffering from hearing loss and were withdrawn from their community flourish once they had the appropriate hearing device and were able to communicate effectively again.
Think your loved one may be experiencing social withdrawal due to undiagnosed hearing loss, but not sure how to deal with the issue? Contact us today to set up an appointment!

Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D.

About Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D.

Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D. is the owner of Chicago Hearing Services and a Doctor of Audiology dedicated to empowering her patients and the public with greater knowledge and education around hearing health.