It is well-known that hearing loss can lead to social isolation and consequent loneliness. This study aimed to research whether hearing loss treatment helps in overcoming loneliness long-term. Two types of treatment - hearing aids (HA) and cochlear implants (CI) - were investigated and loneliness was measured using the UCLA Loneliness Index-Revised scale. As expected, the results showed a decrease in loneliness six months after the intervention for both HA and CI users. The decrease in loneliness is much more apparent in CI users which might be associated with more severe initial hearing impairment. Surprisingly, there is no improvement in reference to loneliness level in the long term. After the initial decrease in the sense of loneliness, it increased when measured one year after treatment and had returned to baseline levels at five years after intervention. As the authors suggest, it would be interesting to see how the sense of loneliness would develop if no hearing treatment was applied as it could possibly help to explain the results. Additionally, it could be useful to find out whether results would be different for different age groups.

Long-term subjective loneliness in adults after hearing loss treatment.
Applebaum J, Hoyer M, Betz J, et al.
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Joanna Lemanska

De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

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