The Social Impact of Hearing Loss

NZH_May Blog

Hearing keeps us connected to the people around us. For most of us, it’s how we communicate with others. Humans are hard-wired for connection and participating in meaningful conversations is one important way we connect. Sadly, hearing loss can significantly inhibit our communication, creating divides and potentially leading to social isolation.

Have you ever avoided a particular cafe or restaurant or skipped out on a party because it’s just “too hard to hear”? Unfortunately, this is common, particularly if you have any degree of hearing loss. Hearing in noise is a challenge regardless of how well you hear, and any change in  hearing makes these situations even more difficult. However, socially isolating yourself because of the challenges can lead to a myriad of health conditions like anxiety, depression, loneliness, even dementia1,2,3.

It may seem like a small thing to skip out once in a while but when it becomes a frequent habit, we start to see the impact on mental health. Researchers have found that depression and anxiety are 59% more likely with untreated hearing loss and can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Untreated hearing loss can negatively impact friendships, family communication and relationships with healthcare providers.

It’s important to take care of your hearing for overall quality of life, don’t leave it until it severely impacts your happiness. Start by scheduling regular hearing checks as part of your annual health physicals. This is especially important as we age, so once you hit your 60th birthday, make your hearing a priority. Talk with your local hearing expert to learn more about hearing and your mental health. 


  1. Mondelli MFCG, de Souza PJS. (2012). Quality of Life in Elderly Adults Before and After Hearing Aid Fitting. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 78(3):49-56.
  2. Contrera KJ, Betz J, Deal J, Choi JS, Ayonayon HN, et al. (2017). Association of Hearing Impairment and Anxiety in Older Adults. J Aging Health. 29(1)178-184.
  3. Thomson RS, Auduong P, Miller AT, Gurgel RK. (2017). Hearing Loss as a Risk Factor for Dementia: A Systematic Review. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology. doi:10.1002/lio2.65.
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