Hearing loss not only affects our hearing, it also affects our general lifestyle. Recent research suggests that those with hearing loss tend to be limited in their capacity to be independent and mobile enough to move around local areas.
We think of hearing loss as a problem of the elderly. Hearing loss is indeed more prevalent in older Americans, affecting around one in every three individuals aged between 65 and 74. This statistic rises to an alarming 50%, where half of the individuals aged 75 and above have some degree of hearing loss.
People are aware of the basic problems caused by hearing loss, such as problems with communication and decreased productivity at work. A recent study shows an additional problem that occurs due to hearing loss: decreased mobility. Findings of a recent study in Finland held at the Universities of Jyväskylä and Tampere suggest that individuals with hearing loss tend to limit their movement to specific locations that are in close proximity to their places of residence.
The Finnish study mentioned above examined 848 participants with and without hearing loss, aged between 75 and 90. The findings indicated that those with hearing problems restricted their movements a lot more than those who had no hearing problems. Participants that reported no hearing problems had double the chances of venturing outside than those with hearing problems.
Mobility decreases with hearing loss due to the increased challenges in daily interaction that occur as a result of problems in hearing. Hearing loss also affects the sense of equilibrium, which places those with hearing loss at a greater risk of taking a fall or having an accident. This is why many people with hearing loss are reluctant to leave their homes and venture outside.
As a result of having limited mobility, people with hearing loss face an additional sense of social isolation that can negatively impact their well-being. Since their engagements in social and communal events are limited, their social relationships are hampered as a result. They also tend to engage less in leisure activities and are less likely to pursue outdoor activities as hobbies. This lack of mobility can have adverse effects on their physical as well as mental health. Thankfully, treating hearing loss with the use of hearing aids can help restore the lives of those with hearing impairment and improve their overall quality of life.
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