EXPERTS are highlighting the impact poor sight and hearing plays in feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Loneliness Awareness Week (June 10 – June 16) is hosted by Marmalade Trust, the UK’s leading loneliness charity. It’s an annual campaign to raise awareness of loneliness and reduce the stigma around it.

Research carried out by Specsavers Home Visits service, revealed 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, our 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.

In fact, trouble with hearing can become so much of a problem that 10% of people Specsavers asked 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 on loneliness, Specsavers’ offers a Home Visits service, which sees opticians travelling across the country to provide full and thorough eye tests for patients who are unable to visit their opticians unaccompanied.

Specsavers is also expanding its Home Visits service to provide remote hearing tests for patients in key locations across the UK, including Newcastle. This was recently launched in Edinburgh and is being followed by a major roll-out across the nation. It is in addition to the audiology services available in stores throughout the UK.

This will have a huge impact on the problem of isolation in people with hearing loss, as research has shown 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, they offer much needed social contact for people across the country who are unable to leave their home unaccompanied.

‘Even a small conversation that might appear insignificant could have a huge impact on someone’s day.

‘We’re always looking to give those who are housebound some much needed face-to-face interaction while providing an important service which helps them maintain their quality of life.

‘Maintaining good vision and hearing can help people to continue to enjoy the things they love and in turn reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.’

Hugh Loughran, Specsavers Newcastle Home Visits director

For more information about Specsavers Home Visits services visit

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