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Hearing Loss and Isolation: Why Offering a Hearing Health Benefit Is Essential in the Pandemic
Rob Gibbs, SVP, Sales and Account Management, TruHearing
When reports of COVID-19 first surfaced nearly a year ago, we never could have imagined the societal, cultural, economic and personal impacts that the virus would have globally. Nearly a year later, we are still adjusting to the new normal of social distancing, communicating through new mediums and battling to stave off the negative side effects that can come from greater isolation. One group that is especially impacted by these changes is those with hearing loss, yet little focus has been placed on the value of adding a hearing health benefit to plan offerings during this critical time.
Health plans and the members they serve may not realize the effect that even slight hearing loss can have on mental health, especially in the time of the pandemic. Those unable to hear clearly are already less likely to participate in social activities, often due to subconscious fears about feeling left out or misunderstood. This is even more problematic as society becomes increasingly reliant on new technology to facilitate connection — like video chats, which require heightened concentration for those with auditory complications. This self-isolation, combined with quarantine, can have serious consequences for short-term and long-term wellbeing.
If hearing loss is not treated, loneliness can compound and lead to mental decline, depression and even dementia. This process is likely being accelerated during the COVID-19 crisis as reduced stimulation leads to increased seclusion, potentially causing brain connections to more quickly deteriorate. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t just something that impacts older individuals. Approximately 60% of people who experience hearing loss operate in a professional or educational setting and rely on their hearing health and their mental health for daily productivity. Providing access to benefits for working populations in addition to retired ones is essential – particularly in today’s work-from-home environment, which often creates further isolation as well as additional barriers to clear communication.
We’ve all felt heightened loneliness throughout the pandemic. Yet, consider how members of the hearing loss community are grappling with the compounded effects of isolation, placing greater strain on total body wellbeing and overall productivity. Luckily, negative outcomes are preventable with intervention, and TruHearing offers everything members need to improve their hearing at the lowest possible out-of-pocket cost, along with individualized care that can create a more satisfying health plan experience. There’s never been a better time to focus on hearing, and ultimately, mental health to showcase a commitment to member safety, well-being and satisfaction.
If you’d like further information about TruHearing benefits, please contact our team at 1-215-880-8554 or explore truhearing.com to learn more.