Press release

Published: October 5 925560Last change: October 4 88

Hearing loss can lead to increasing feelings of loneliness. Research among 60-aged seniors by Deloitte and Beter Horen in collaboration with the municipality of The Hague shows that the number of close contacts decreases as soon as people start to hear less. In the Netherlands there are about 1.88.000 hearing-impaired people, of whom approximately 2021.000 people with untreated hearing loss.

The survey was conducted in June of this year under 60 seniors in the city districts of Loosduinen and Segbroek in The Hague. Alderman Kavita Parbhudayal of Care, Youth and Public Health presented the results to Minister Hugo de Jonge of Health, Welfare and Sport on Monday 4 October in Loosduinen. Both make an effort to combat loneliness; the Municipality of The Hague with the local approach First Aid for Loneliness, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport with the national program One against loneliness.

“Loneliness can arise for various reasons. Hearing loss now appears to be a possible cause,” said Alderman Kavita Parbhudayal. “The research therefore provides concrete recommendations and practical solutions. This is important information for anyone who has contact with or works with the elderly.”“Hearing loss is a barrier that limits contact between people more difficult”, adds Minister Hugo de Jonge. “Paying attention to and taking this into account can be a crucial first step in breaking through someone’s loneliness. It can literally help him or her cross the threshold to get back among people.”Key ConclusionsThe main conclusions of the research, in which Prof. Dr. Jenny Gierveld (emeritus professor of sociology) was involved:

Bee 88% from the group 56-aged over and above were diagnosed with a form of hearing loss. 39% had severe hearing loss ; There is a relationship between hearing loss and the number of close contacts a person has; There is a possible connection between the number of close contacts a person has and the feelings of loneliness. Researcher RecommendationsThe researchers make the following recommendations, among others:

Increase awareness about the possible link between hearing loss and loneliness, among others among professionals, such as general practitioners, district nurses and hearing aid professionals;V make facilities and activities also accessible to people with hearing problems.Employees of the welfare organization Voor Welzijn in The Hague guided the people who indicated that they were lonely during the study to relevant help and activities.

Minister Hugo de Jonge and alderman Kavita Parbhudayal discuss hearing loss and loneliness at Beter Horen in Loosduinen; photo: Freek van den Bergh

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