Dancing with Hearing Loss: Ward off depression, dementia, and social isolation


Do we have any dancers in here?



I go English Country Dancing once a month, but hearing the calls is pretty critical. Is good brain exercise though.

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Yes. That was pretty much me. At the end of a two week group course for people with depression and anxiety issues, one of the facilitating psychologists said- in some exasperation I think- ‘I want you to ring up the … Ballroom when you get home and sign up for lessons!’. And that was that.

I loved it and got good at it. Good enough that ex competition dancers were happy to dance with me. Latin was my thing. Four or five days a week at the height of the ‘street Latin’ boom. Ballrooms, trendy coffee shops and bars. I met my subsequent girlfriends and my now-wife dancing and most of my male friends too. Actually, some nights when you first start, make you feel more of an outsider than ever. Everyone else knows what they’re doing and you don’t. You have to work through that.

There’s a certain connection and communication in how both partners feel the music and how one partner leads the other, and there’s a shared high when you’ve had a good experience dancing to good music. And at the end of the day, it’s hard to feel lonely when you’re thigh to thigh with a member of whatever sex you’re into.


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Yes I go Scottish country dancing every week or every 2nd week. It’s great fun, but it takes me a week to recover these days.



Sadly, our ballroom dance club, in our small rural town, folded many years ago. As couples got older and dropped out, new younger couples were not coming in. When it got down to four couples coming to our monthly dance, we decided it was time to fold up our tent. I do miss it. I was encouraged when a number of years ago on a business trip I looked up an old college roommate in Appleton, WI. I wanted to get together but he was going to a mostly singles ballroom dance in Green Bay. I gladly went along to mostly watch but it was refreshing to see 60-70 people out dancing and most of them single using dance as a way to meet other singles.



I go roller skating for the same purpose.

In many ways, it is quite an isolating experience as the rink is very noisy and the music makes any conversation difficult, however I can skate around and shut the world out, just drifting around in my own mind, enjoying the feel of the wind from my speed (well, slow speed!).

Now I’ve been going for a few months my face is recognised to I can say hello to a few people. Communication is still difficult due to the noise but it’s a great outlet for the frustrations of the world.

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