Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Socially Connected

Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Socially Connected

After two years of living with the global pandemic many of us continue to struggle to find the balance of feeling socially connected while maintaining recommended social distancing practices for public health. A Pew Research survey taken shortly before the pandemic hit found that 1 in 10 Americans already suffered from loneliness and social isolation and the pandemic has only exacerbated that. 

It is common for most people to occasionally prefer being alone. It can be relaxing, rejuvenating, and offer an opportunity for necessary pensiveness. But social isolation and loneliness are different than this. And they are different from each other. Social isolation is objective: one literally lacks social contact. Loneliness is subjective: one feels isolated whether or not they are socially connected. 

Treating hearing loss is a simple and imperative first step to avoid these typically unwanted and unhealthy conditions. 

Hearing Loss and Communication

Just think how fundamental a healthy ability to hear is to grounding all your relationships: social, professional, familial, and romantic. When the basic necessities of exchange and understanding are damaged or compromised things can quickly spiral and compound. It’s no great stretch to recognize the many ways in which hearing loss can lead to social isolation. 

When you have trouble understanding those around you it gets fatiguing. In one-on-one situations it can become tiring asking someone to slow down and repeat themselves. It throws off the natural rhythms of conversation and makes the exchange feel stilted and overly formal. This creates distance. Of course missing exactly what someone is saying to you limits the depth to which you can connect, creating a sense of social isolation. 

Hearing Loss and Social Isolation

Socially isolated people often come to avoid the same plans and people that they’d once found enjoyable. They frequently cancel plans and feel relief when plans get cancelled. Even considering social interactions may cause anxiety or dread. But this self-imposed solitude, even if subconscious, can quickly transform into feelings of distress. Social isolation easily evolves into emotional isolation, the inability and unwillingness to express one’s feelings with others. Lacking emotional support leads to feelings of numbness and detachment from one’s own emotions. And simple awareness and action to maintain one’s hearing health would quite easily prevent all this. 

Studies prove that socially isolated people often suffer from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. And these conditions lead to many health consequences including sleeplessness which negatively impacts the immune system, cardiovascular health and cognitive functions, all of which of course can compound into grim scenarios. 

Addressing Hearing Loss

All this potential trouble could be prevented with a simple awareness of the symptoms and dedication to addressing hearing loss as soon as it can be detectable. The right hearing aids might be all it takes to circumvent these potential spirals into alienation. 

Of course the immediate benefits of improving one’s hearing are the enjoyment one feels in the company of others. Imagine being able to effortlessly enjoy the company of your loved ones in private and in social situations. Think of how much the impact of humor depends on timing and how compromised hearing throws off the timing of conversations. The laughter will return easily. And especially now given the pandemic, staying socially connected is not just about the increased satisfaction you’ll experience in face-to-face interactions, whether they be social or the increased work performance you’ll experience with your greater confidence. Phone calls and video-conferencing will be so much simpler. Even text messaging and social media: think of how much effective communication depends on the subtitles of tonality?

Same as the risks of social isolation extend easily and plentifully into impacting one’s sense of self, the positive consequences of staying socially connected also impact your alone time: the deep and simple emotion that comes from listening to one’s favorite music; the increased ability to participate more meaningfully in one’s faith communities. This increased relaxation compounds same as the risks do. Greater connection to others promotes greater connection to one’s self, greater satisfaction from hobbies, getting to understand one’s self better through reading, keeping a journal or writing letters. 

Whatever it is that you find satisfaction in by yourself, it all begins with the ability to relate simply to others. Don’t let the common problem of hearing loss negatively impact one more day of your potential satisfaction. Reach out and make an appointment with one of our hearing specialists today.