Experiencing a loss of hearing can be frustrating, confusing, and sometimes frightening. Regardless of how well we can hear, we have all been able to relate to these feelings in varying degrees due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
While these feelings are still fresh on everyone’s minds, we’d like to take the opportunity to raise awareness by contemplating our experiences of pandemic isolation alongside the isolation experienced by many living with a hearing loss – an exercise in empathy.
Similarities of COVID Isolation and Hearing Loss Isolation
It is not easy to be stuck in your house, unable to engage in regular social activities with family, friends, and community. Let’s face it; phone calls and video conferencing can never really replace real, face-to-face contact with your loved ones.
Those who suffer from hearing loss typically experience issues and symptoms like:
- mental exhaustion
- feelings of isolation, embarrassment, and frustration
- high-stress levels
- sleep disorders
- high blood pressure
- cognitive decline
- altered sense of time – things take longer than before
- chronic head, neck, and backaches from strained concentration.
Can we not all relate to these feelings now? Feelings of frustration, confusion, and isolation are compounded by the need to keep up with what is going on, listening to the news, and coming to terms with what it all means. Trying different relaxation techniques, listening to music, efforts toward better communication, struggling to stay in touch with friends, and seeking means to divert our attention from the situation (to keep sane) are common experiences of both sides.
The difference is, for those with a hearing loss, these issues will not end with a government or health official making a public declaration.
Adverse Effects of Extended Isolation
According to researchers at the University of Zurich, isolation from others, regardless of age, begins to take its toll, causing several health issues, including:
- higher rate of musculoskeletal disorders
- moderate to severe depression
- increase in multiple health problems
- unhealthy behaviors (lower physical activity, increased smoking, and alcohol abuse, etc.)
- poor diet (more junk foods or not eating at all)
- increased use of psychotropic medications (dependency, weight gain, cardiac issues, sleep disorders)
Without proper evaluation and treatment, these health issues will develop. For those who suffer from hearing loss, this is often an everyday struggle, especially for seniors.
Hearing Care Technology Comes to the Rescue
Due to micro-digital technology, modern hearing aids are smaller, more discrete, and perform better than their predecessors. Today’s hearing aids have the capacity for direct connectivity to your cell phone or television as well as audio links and sound enhancement features for access in public places.
Also, apps providing remote assistance from a professional hearing aid technician are available. With hearing aids, those who have experienced a hearing loss can come out of isolation, maintain healthy relationships, improve cognitive function, and participate in all the activities that keep them healthy and happy – living and loving life again.
How Holland Hearing Center Can Help
If your isolation or the isolation of a loved one seems constant due to a hearing loss, an assessment from a doctor of audiology can be the first step to freedom and a return to a healthy life. At Holland Hearing Center, we diagnose, advise, and treat hearing loss issues for individuals in Abilene and the surrounding communities. Contact us about available hearing loss solutions, or set up a Tele Audiology appointment here.
If your dad suffers from hearing loss, brighten his Father’s Day by asking us about various devices and technologies that make great gifts.