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Hearing loss, loneliness & depression in older people

3 Min read

7th Aug 2017

Hearing Loss & Loneliness

We saw this really powerful clip from Channel 4 and we felt that we had to share it, it is a report on loneliness in the elderly. We know that untreated hearing loss causes isolation, loneliness and eventually depression. We deal with that every day with people, giving them their life back. This though is an example of older people just having no one.


Over 1 million older people haven’t spoken to a friend, neighbour or family member for at least a month

The figures above are from Age UK, we found them horrifying, they are campaigning to have loneliness in the elderly recognised as a serious health issue, here is what they say:

Contrary to what many people think, loneliness is not a normal part of ageing, and it not only makes life miserable, it can have a serious impact on your physical and mental health too. Unless we act, our rapidly ageing population means we’ll see ever greater numbers of lonely older people and, because loneliness undermines resilience, this also means more pressure on our already stretched NHS and social care services.

What are we calling for?

We want local and national government to understand that older people’s loneliness really matters; that it’s a serious public health problem and not a normal part of ageing, and we want them commit to take action with us to prevent and tackle it.

We need your help

Loneliness definitely can’t be fixed by Government alone, we all have a role to play

Age UK


Hearing Loss & Loneliness, Our Experience

As we said at the start of the article, we have some experience with loneliness and depression that is caused by untreated hearing loss. Because hearing loss makes it difficult to communicate it often leads to isolation. In most cases this isolation is self enforced, people are fed up of being embarrassed by their mis-understandings and inability to understand and communicate and withdraw from their social life. This isolation leads to loneliness and eventually depression, we are social animals, not really meant to be alone. However, recent clinical studies have shown that depression is not the worst possible effect of un-treated hearing loss.

Hearing Loss, Cognitive Decline & Dementia

Hearing loss is a very common disorder across the world, in fact it is so common that it is considered a normal part of the aging process and no great cause for alarm. However, that attitude is changing quickly in the Medical world. Studies from Johns Hopkins University have found clear links between hearing loss, cognitive decline and dementia. If this is proved to be so, hearing loss is a far greater health threat than even we previously thought.

“Hearing loss shouldn’t be considered an inconsequential part of aging,” Dr. Frank Lin,

Cognitive Abilities Declined 30 to 40% faster in People With Hearing Loss

Dr. Frank Lin, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins, an otologist and epidemiologist is a leading force in the studies of the effects of hearing loss on older adults. His work on the cognitive effects of hearing loss has gathered much attention over the last few years. In one study involving nearly 2,000 men and women aged between 75 and 84. Dr. Lin and his colleagues found that over six years, cognitive abilities (including memory and concentration) of those with hearing loss declined 30 to 40 percent faster than in people with normal hearing.

That is a frightening finding that is being backed up by more and more study evidence that is coming to light. Hearing loss needs to be considered a serious health problem, it can have devestating effects on the wider health of people if it remains un-treated. If you have any questions or are looking for some information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01905 617803.

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Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon Director of Audiology

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