Hearing Loss Might Cost You Your Mobility
People with hearing loss are often tied in proximity on a daily basis without realizing it. Hearing loss restricts the amount of sound you are able to hear, which is why many people with hearing loss limit their physical boundaries with regards to the places they tend to travel to on a daily basis.
A Finnish study conducted by the Gerontology Research Center at the University of Jyväskylä studied 848 participants aged between 75-90 years. They mapped the available “life space” of the participants, which referred to the radius that they are willing to travel on a daily basis. The study included both those with hearing loss as well as regular hearing.
The term “life space” was used to denote the places where the participants went each day, the number of times they went to those places, as well as the amount of assistance (if any) that they required.
The results found that those with hearing loss have a significantly lower radius of travel compared to those without a hearing problem. Those with hearing loss were found to attend places familiar to them and those which are nearer to their residence. In a way, people with hearing loss appear to become boxed into a certain zone.
Limiting your “life space” can actually deteriorate the quality of your life. A sense of dependence and helplessness accompany those that are afraid to travel out of their comfort zone out of fear of their hearing loss. This can negatively impact the quality of life of these people who limit their “life space” to only a few locations since it results in social isolation and withdrawal. Over time, this type of limitation can cause depression and anxiety.
Hearing loss is a frustrating and lonely experience. People with hearing loss slowly withdraw from social engagements as they feel increasingly left out of the conversations that are taking place. They become unable to enjoy the activities that they used to love, such as concerts or sporting events. The worst part is that the fear of social stigma stops those with hearing loss from sharing their problems and concerns with anyone else, which only adds to their sense of isolation.
Loss of hearing does not need to limit you from living your life to the fullest. Getting hearing aids can help you take back control of your life and regain independence to step outside of your limited “life space.” If you or a loved one has a hearing problem, talk to your audiologist about getting hearing aids. Loss of mobility does not need to be a part of losing your hearing.