MORE than a third (44 per cent) of people actively avoid social situations because they struggle to hear, leaving them feeling frustrated, isolated and depressed, new research by Specsavers has revealed.

Staying connected to one another – especially with our loved ones - is more important than ever in helping us to stave off loneliness and maintain good mental health.

That is why, at one of the most social times of the year, Specsavers has partnered with the Jo Cox Foundation's Great Winter Get Together, a campaign that encourages everyone to face loneliness together, one connection at a time.

With lockdown restrictions easing for five days during the festive period, Specsavers in Leeds is also urging local residents to prioritise their hearing health to ensure that they get the most enjoyment out of Christmas, staying connected with friends, loved ones, and their wider community, whether it’s in person, virtually, or on the phone.

The study by Specsavers reveals 73.8 per cent of people struggle with their hearing when socialising, with almost one in 10 (9.5%) saying it happens all the time.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kim Leadbeater Kim Leadbeater

A total of 88.1 per cent say they believe someone hasn’t heard them properly at social events. In fact, it can become so much of a problem that one in 10 (11.9%) people say they would skip social events in order to avoid any awkwardness.

Despite this, over two thirds of people have not had their hearing tested after noticing a problem, which leads to them feeling frustrated (19%), embarrassed (11.9%), isolated (8.3%) and depressed (9.5%).

Kim Leadbeater, Jo Cox’s sister and ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation, said: “At the Jo Cox Foundation we know the importance of staying connected and we want to ensure that everyone has the confidence to do so, particularly during these challenging times.

“So we are delighted to be partnering with Specsavers to encourage people to consider how important it is to look after their hearing, and indeed vision, in order to connect with each other.

“Through our Great Winter Get Together campaign we are aiming to reduce loneliness and the stigma that surrounds it, and asking people to face loneliness, one connection at a time.’ Kori Cook, Specsavers Guiseley, Crossgates and Idle audiologist, said: ‘This year, more than ever, being together with loved ones at Christmas will be the most important thing.

“But, while it is great to be surrounded by friends and family where you can, for some it won’t be all it is cracked up to be if they can’t join in with conversation or laugh at bad cracker jokes because of hearing loss.

“This can be so isolating for people, but it doesn’t need to be this way.

“On average it takes someone 10 years to get their hearing checked from when they first experience problems, but looking after your hearing is vital.

“It is one of the main ways we can communicate with others – not just in person but on the phone or through video calls too.

“For some people who are shielding or not able to see their loved ones, technology like this is a lifeline, but again, poor hearing can leave them feeling disconnected and alone.

“If you, or someone you love is struggling, we urge you to book in for a hearing check - it is the greatest gift to give.”

For more information or to request an appointment at your local store, go to and to find out more about the Jo Cox Foundation and the Great Winter Get Together, go to