How to avoid feeling isolated with hearing loss

Published 06 April 2023  | 5 mins read

One of the lesser-considered side effects of hearing loss is the link between feelings of isolation and loneliness – and as we age these feelings can become heightened. There is however, a lot we can do to help ourselves and others around us avoid feeling isolated or lonely as a result of hearing loss.

What are the links between hearing loss and loneliness?

Before we look at the ways we can avoid these feelings, it is important that we understand the link between hearing loss and loneliness a little better.

Hearing loss can have a significant impact on the way we communicate with others, making conversations harder to follow and be a part of. Because of this, those with hearing loss may find themselves withdrawing from these social situations and over time remove themselves completely. Not only can this prolonged withdrawal lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, but in more severe cases this can be associated with depression, higher levels of anxiety or other mental health problems.

Many studies have been carried out on this topic, and a majority have come to the same conclusion: hearing loss can affect how we feel, and those with more severe, untreated losses are more likely to experience feeling isolated or lonely.

So what can be done to combat this?

I have hearing loss, what can I do to avoid feeling isolated?

If you find yourself struggling with feelings of isolation or loneliness from time to time due to your hearing loss, here are a few easy tips to help you feel reconnected to the world once again!

Join a local support group

Up and down the country there are many local support groups for those with hearing loss, which are fantastic social spots where you can meet people who are in a similar situation to yourself and share your stories. These groups can provide advice, support and most importantly a sense of community.

A woman with glasses waving during her video call on her tablet.

Utilise technology

We live in a world full of remarkable technology and these days there are lots of gadgets we can use to help us in conversation.

  • Speech-to-text apps – If you have a smartphone, there are lots of free and paid for speech-to-text apps on the market. These apps can transcribe conversations, allowing you to read everything that is said, making them particularly helpful for larger group settings or work meetings.

 

  • Live captioning – We all got very used to Zoom and video calls over lockdown, and its popularity remains today, with video calling services being used by workplaces and families alike. But did you know that most of these services have video captioning? This means that you can follow along with the conversation in real time.

Face-to-face conversations

Regular face-to-face conversations are key to helping tackle loneliness and even boost your mood. Have these conversations in a quiet, familiar environment and be seated somewhere you can clearly see the other person’s face  – this will help with lip reading and seeing facial expressions.

 

Treat your hearing loss

As simple as it might sound, one of the best ways to beat these feelings of loneliness and isolation is to treat your hearing loss as early as possible. Hearing aids have the power to help enhance your hearing, so you can feel confident to put yourself back into the conversation.

Here at The Hearing Care Partnership, our audiologists are ready and waiting to help you take the next steps on your hearing journey. So why not book a FREE hearing test today?

How can I help someone with hearing loss to avoid feeling lonely?

If you know someone with hearing loss, there are several things you can do to help them avoid feeling lonely:

Keep them part of the conversation

When talking to someone with hearing loss, one of the best things you can do is keep them part of the conversation. Take some time to understand their conversational needs and be prepared to support them where needed. Make sure when you are talking to them on an individual basis that you are face-on, and prepared to repeat things if needs be. If you are in a larger group, position yourself next to the person with hearing loss, and be prepared to relay things they may have missed back to them. The more you keep the other person engaged and following the conversation, the less withdrawn they become, reducing any feelings of loneliness.

people-in-restaurant

Plan outings accordingly

If you are planning a romantic dinner or family outing, you should try and find a location that isn’t too noisy or avoid going at peak times if you can. In a restaurant, you can call ahead and request to be sat on the edge of the dining area, or in a more secluded part of the restaurant that is quieter. 

Support them in getting the help they need

One of the best ways you can help someone with hearing loss avoid feeling lonely starts at the source by treating the loss. Showing your support and care can often be enough to help someone kick-start their hearing journey and overcome any negative preconceptions they may have about wearing hearing aids. 

 

Book an appointment

If you or someone you love is concerned about their hearing then speak to us today. Call our Dedicated Patient Support Team on 0800 52 00 546 or book an appointment online.