The impact that sight and hearing has on South Devon people’s feelings of loneliness and isolation is being highlighted.
Throughout Loneliness Awareness Week (13-20 June), the UK’s leading loneliness charity, Marmalade Trust, runs a campaign to raise awareness about loneliness and reduce the stigma around it.
As part of this, research carried out by Specsavers and its Home Visits service reveals that more than half of those (51%) who have poor vision also struggle with feelings of loneliness.
And it isn’t just poor vision that leads to feeling of isolation – people’s ability to hear does too. Further research by Specsavers has shown that more than two-thirds of people have actively avoided social situations because they struggle to hear.
Trouble with hearing can become so much of a problem that 10% of people asked by Specsavers said they would skip a meal at a restaurant with friends, 7% would avoid going to their friend’s house for dinner and 6% would miss a play at their child’s school. One in 10 people also said they skip all social events in order to avoid any awkwardness.
To help combat the damaging effects of poor sight and hearing on loneliness, Specsavers’ offers a Home Visits service, which has a significant impact on the problem of isolation in people with hearing loss.
This is emphasised by research showing that while hearing loss increases the chances of loneliness, it is only the case in people who don’t wear hearing aids.
Not only do home visits play a crucial role in ensuring those most likely to suffer from isolation don’t suffer more due to poor eyesight or hearing, they offer much-needed social contact for people across the country who are unable to leave their home unaccompanied.
Zetun Arif, Specsavers home visits director and optometrist, says: ‘Needless to say, over the past couple of years the demand for Specsavers home visits has increased as many in our communities have sought to stay safe while also keeping on top of their healthcare.
‘The majority of patients we visit at home are elderly and within our rural communities, and therefore their isolation can easily bring about loneliness.
‘At Specsavers we are a part of our communities and will always go the extra mile for our patients to ensure they have access to their everyday needs, so we hope those chats during eye tests help to alleviate that loneliness in some way.’
For more information about Specsavers audiology and Home Visits services visit www.specsavers.co.uk
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