For some, the holiday season is anything but joyous. Those who experience hearing loss may suffer from increased loneliness and depression, especially as they are thrust into situations that exacerbate their communication difficulties.
Take holiday dinners—these are festive occasions to gather together and celebrate for most, but can cause struggles for those who may be deaf or hard of hearing. This year promises to be more challenging than ever for these people, who will endure what many in the medical community call a “perfect storm” of isolation.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of slowing, forcing people to curtail their activities and adopt social distancing measures. Those with hearing loss already tend to keep to themselves, avoiding social situations in order to eliminate the accompanying physical and mental stress brought on by their condition.
Forced isolation increases feelings of loneliness and frustration. Compounding matters further, recent studies show a possible link between COVID-19 and hearing loss.
It is imperative for hearing experts to be more vigilant than ever in referring patients with suspected hearing issues to hearing specialists for treatment. Regular hearing tests should be included in all adults’ routine health care regimens, as early detection is the best way to treat the condition effectively and prevent additional serious health problems. Adults should have their hearing tested at least once every 10 years before the age of 50, and every three years afterward.
Even in the best of times, active management of hearing loss can stave off a number of physical, social and psychological comorbidities ranging from anxiety and depression to dementia and an increased risk of falling.
While COVID-19 rages on, helping people stay connected with others is important. Social isolation is detrimental to mental health; providing treatment for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals ensures that they remain in contact with friends and loved ones through this difficult season, which can prevent long-term negative health consequences.
 (COVID-19), C., Health, E., Disease, H., Disease, L., Management, P., & Conditions, S. et al. (2020). Another Effect of COVID: Lasting Hearing Problems?. Retrieved 25 September 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200731/another-side-effect-of-covid-19—-lasting-hearing-problems