Posted 03/25/2020

New Study Reveals Devastating Social and Health Impact of Hearing Loss

New study conducted by Clear Living with over 3,700 users from 2019-2020
●        89% of participants cited social and personal problems as key impact of hearing loss
●        58% of participant’s statements say that their relationships had suffered
●        Users submitted a range of harrowing statements from “I'm leaving him because of his deafness” to “it has caused me depression”
●        Despite hearing loss, 75% had concerns about buying a hearing aid

Clear Living, an expert healthcare and lifestyle site (formerly Everyday Hearing), has released its new annual Impact of Hearing Loss on Mental Well-being and Lifestyle Study. The study has been created to highlight the detrimental effect hearing loss has on mental well-being and social lifestyle through the participant data and statements.

Gathered since early 2019, the study polled over 3,700 Clear Living website users who either suffer from hearing loss themselves or are affected by a friend or family member's hearing loss. Both groups of participants answered questions around the most impacted areas of their lives citing personal, social and activity related problems. The study also looked into the anxieties those with hearing loss had around having a hearing test and wearing hearing aids.

Suffering statements

When asked which area was affected most, 89% of the survey participants cited personal and social problems as the key impact, with only 11% citing health issues. Following on from this, poor conversation was the biggest negative side effect of hearing loss participants stated, with almost 39% of users claiming that their conversations had worsened or were harder to follow due to their hearing loss. Here are some of their personal statements about it (more in study):

●        'Terribly. Can't sleep. Relationship broken up'
●        'I could say a different answer and people started laughing at me.'
●        'Isolated me from being in a public place.'
●        'It has caused me depression.'

The study showed that hearing loss has a significant impact on those around the affected person: 58% of the submitted statements mentioned that their relationships had deteriorated. Site users who were looking for a hearing test/aid for someone else stated that using electronic devices (20%), communication (19%) and frustration (17%) are what impacts their affected person most. Here's what they say about them:

●        ‘It's causing my Mom to become isolated and depressed… She is 90 years old and 100% mentally [sound].’
●        '[He] became depressed because of not understanding conversations'
●        'Horrible to have to yell and so sad for my father who lost the ability to play instruments and sing..that was his whole life.'
●        'It's seriously becoming an issue. I'm leaving him because of it. I doubt he’ll hear me leave.'

Clear Living’s resident audiologist Dr. Lindsey Banks states: “The spouse of the person with hearing loss can be negatively impacted, especially when the person with hearing loss does not seek help. They can get very frustrated by having to yell or repeat themselves, and may even act as the person's “ears” or interpreter at doctor's appointments, on phone calls, or in social situations. Their social life may also suffer as a result of their loved one choosing to avoid social activities because of their hearing loss, causing isolation not only for the person with hearing loss, but their spouse as well.”

Activities such as being out with friends in a social place (35%) and watching TV (30%) were some of the main issues those with hearing loss have:

●        “Have to turn the TV up quite loud, have to ask my wife what someone said when we are watching TV, can't hear in situations with background noise.”
●        “Struggle to hear through background noise, and others tell me the TV is too loud.”
●        “I struggle to hear in noisy locations, like restaurants or from the front seat to the backseat in the car.”

Afraid of the test, afraid of the aid

In regards to getting either a hearing test or hearing aids, it was the devices that had the polled more concerned. 75% of people with hearing loss had various concerns regarding the purchase of hearing aids.

They had a range of concerns in regards to hearing aids citing product reliability (43%), cost (37%), comfort (8%), uncertainty (8%), aesthetics (4%). Understandably, many were unsure as to how much a hearing aid would work for them and how reliable it would be, as well as the costs involved to get them.

66% of the people we asked who have had a hearing test were concerned before they went in for it. Of these, 41% were worried about the results - their hearing loss being confirmed by a medical professional - 31% with the accuracy of the hearing exam, 14% had concerns with Tinnitus and another 14% were concerned with the cost of the whole procedure.

Clear Living’s resident audiologist Dr. Lindsey Banks states: “Many people avoid even getting a hearing test because they don't want to be told they need hearing aids.”

Addressing hearing problems ear-ly

While much of study looks at the impact of hearing loss, some participants gave positive statements around hearing aids and how their lives had improved since them:

●        “Hearing aids allow me to communicate with friends and family as well as work colleagues. Without hearing aids, life becomes isolated and lonely.”
●        “[They're] a necessity in order to have conversations.”
●        "Hearing aids gave me my life back!" 

The study also includes information around the linked health benefits of healthy hearing - an often overlooked consequence of hearing loss - as well as an infographic with practical tips on how to keep ears healthy for longer.

See the full report here: https://www.clearliving.com/hearing/hearing-loss/health-lifestyle-impact/ -

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