It’s frequently suggested that we don’t completely appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this seems to be specifically true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only difficult to detect; it’s also tough to appreciate just how much hearing enhances our lives.
As one of our prime senses, along with vision, hearing effects our mental, social, and physical health, so when we lose our hearing, we put our overall welfare in jeopardy. But restoring our hearing can have several health benefits that we never really stop to think about.
Here are three ways improving your hearing can strengthen your social, mental, and physical health.
Hearing and Relationships
The foundation of any good relationship is communication, and with hearing loss, that foundation is compromised. Miscommunication, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all occur from hearing loss and the obstacle to communication it generates.
Hearing loss can be especially disruptive to a marriage, as Julie and Charlie Kraft had to find out the hard way.
For the majority of Charlie’s adult life, he has had a common form of hearing loss known as high-frequency hearing loss, in which he has difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. And since the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had an especially challenging time hearing his wife.
But seeing that Charlie wasn’t aware of his hearing loss, he believed his wife Julie just spoke too quietly, which was frustrating for him. At the same time, Julie thought Charlie talked too loudly—not to mention that she always had to repeat herself—which was frustrating for her.
In this manner, hearing loss forms a frustrating barrier to communication where both parties harbor bad feelings towards each other.
In Charlie and Julie’s case, they had the sense to identify the hearing loss and to take action to deal with it. After Charlie began wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to talk so loudly, and he started hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one benefit he reported he cherished the most was the improved communication he had with his wife.
Julie concurred, and both expressed how much stronger their relationship is without the burden of hearing loss.
Hearing and Physical Health
Does using hearing aids tend to make you more active?
The answer is yes, according to a survey performed by Hear The World Foundation, which found that 21 percent of those interviewed reported that they exercised more after getting hearing aids. Additionally, 34 percent said they regularly participate in sports at least once per week, and 69 percent feel that their hearing aids have a positive effect on their overall health.
Hearing loss can make communication challenging to the point where people are inclined to avoid the social events and activities that they used to enjoy. With hearing aids, you can pursue these activities more confidently, leading to more exercise and improved physical health.
Hearing and Mental Health
In a recent study, researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) discovered a strong link between hearing loss and depression among US adults of all ages.
Other studies by Johns Hopkins University have connected hearing loss to general cognitive decline, including memory problems as well as an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Evidently, the lack of sound stimulation to the brain with hearing loss causes several negative effects, resulting in an increased risk of depression, social isolation, and mental decline. But the good news is, studies have also shown that wearing hearing aids can reverse or prevent many of these problems.
How Has Better Hearing Improved YOUR Life?
Statistics are one thing; stories of actual people enjoying the benefits of better hearing are quite another.
If you wear hearing aids, let us know in a comment below how your life, relationships, and/or physical or mental health has improved! You may find yourself inspiring others to take the first steps toward better hearing.