Loneliness Awareness Week
This week is Loneliness Awareness Week and we want to look at the connection between hearing loss and loneliness.
What is loneliness?
Everyone feels lonely from time to time. Because it’s such a personal experience, everyone’s definition of loneliness will be a little different. You don’t have to be alone to feel lonely. You may feel lonely in a relationship or friendship if you feel misunderstood or disconnected to those around you. Some people are happy with their own company and don’t feel they need much social interaction.
Different types of loneliness
Emotional Loneliness – Absence of a significant other where a close attachment or meaningful relationship existed
Social Loneliness – lacking a wider social network of friends, colleagues or neighbours
Chronic Loneliness – Feeling lonely most or all of the time
Transient Loneliness – Feelings of loneliness that come and go
Situational Loneliness – Feeling lonely at certain times such as Holidays and Sundays
Loneliness Awareness Week Facts and Figures
The number of over 50’s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/26
16-24 year olds are now the loneliest age group
Half a million older people go at least five or six days without speaking to anyone at all
40% of young people feel lonely compared to 27% of over 75’s
1 in 3 elderly people feel more lonely since COVID-19
About 3.9 million older people say the television is their main company
People who feel lonely are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia than those who do not feel lonely
Loneliness, Isolation & Memory Loss
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is a group of symptoms that damage the brain such as memory loss, confusion and problems with language. As we age, our thought processes naturally slow down because our brains shrink.
Research shows that people living with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia. It can be difficult to tell the difference between dementia and hearing loss because one condition can ask the other. For example, struggling to follow a conversation could be caused by either dementia or hearing loss.
Are You Feeling Lonely?
If you’ve been feeling lonely for a long time, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your GP to get access to the right support. Other ways to help with feelings of loneliness include:
Learning to be more comfortable with your own company. Self care is really important and looks different to everyone. What does self-care mean to you? Having the TV or music on in the background, watching a favourite film, tidying, going for a walk, starting a new activity. It may take some time and trial and error but it’s important to find something that makes you feel good.
Try to open up to to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. It doesn’t need to be face-to-face, it could be a text or message on social media. Being able to be open with someone you trust may make you feel better.
Try not to compare yourself to others. Most of the time we only see what people want us to from the outside. We don’t know how they really feel when they’re alone.
Remember, try not to do everything at once and don’t focus on the things you can’t change.