This year's prime award for stating the obvious....... BUCKS psychologist Lynda Shaw says an "isolation epidemic" is looming on the horizon as the ‘baby boom generation’ reach old age and start to develop hearing problems.
Through a series of meetings with elderly groups and individuals, age-specialist Dr Shaw found many of those who have lost or are losing their hearing feel lonely and depressed. In particular, she concluded that those losing their hearing find straining to hear friends and relatives can be exhausting, and misunderstanding conversations embarrassing, so avoiding certain social situations becomes commonplace.
Dr Shaw, who runs private clinics in Bourne End and Chalfont St Giles, told the Bucks Free Press: "Deafness makes people go in on themselves, because they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing if they haven’t heard something properly. "One of the things I find is a lot of people when they are older deliberately cut themselves off because they don’t want to be a burden....
"But we’re not meant to be on our own and lonely, we’re meant to belong to a community where we can contribute. It’s no coincidence that solitary confinement is a form of torture." In the UK there are an estimated nine million deaf and partially hearing people. About 688,000 of these are severely or profoundly deaf, but the most common cause of hearing loss is ageing, and three-quarters of people who are deaf are aged over 60.