It’s commonly said that we don’t completely appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this appears to be specifically true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only tough to detect; it’s also tough to appreciate just how much hearing enhances our lives.
As one of our major senses, along with vision, hearing effects our mental, social, and physical health, so when we compromise our hearing, we put our overall welfare in jeopardy. But restoring our hearing can have many health benefits that we never really stop to think about.
Here are three ways improving your hearing can enhance your social, mental, and physical health.
Hearing and Relationships
The foundation of any good relationship is communication, and with hearing loss, that foundation is weakened. Miscommunication, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all occur from hearing loss and the barrier to communication it yields.
Hearing loss can be particularly disruptive to a marriage, as Julie and Charlie Kraft had to find out the hard way.
For most of Charlie’s adult life, he has had a common form of hearing loss known as high-frequency hearing loss, in which he has trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. And because the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had a particularly hard time hearing his wife.
But seeing that Charlie wasn’t conscious of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie just talked too quietly, which was frustrating for him. At the same time, Julie thought Charlie spoke too loudly—not to mention that she constantly had to repeat herself—which was aggravating for her.
In this manner, hearing loss produces a frustrating barrier to communication where both people harbor bad feelings towards one another.
In Charlie and Julie’s case, they had the sense to identify the hearing loss and to take action to address it. After Charlie started wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to speak so loud, and he started hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one benefit he claimed he cherished the most was the improved communication he had with his wife.
Julie agreed, and both expressed how much healthier their relationship is without the stress of hearing loss.
Hearing and Physical Health
Does wearing hearing aids tend to make you more active?
The answer is yes, according to a survey carried out by Hear The World Foundation, which found that 21 percent of those interviewed stated that they exercised more after getting hearing aids. Additionally, 34 percent said they regularly take part in sports at least once per week, and 69 percent feel that their hearing aids have a positive effect on their general health.
Hearing loss can make communication challenging to the point where people are inclined to avoid the social gatherings and activities that they used to love. With hearing aids, you can pursue these activities more confidently, resulting in more exercise and enhanced 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 connection 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 enhanced 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 using hearing aids can reverse or prevent many of these problems.
How Has Better Hearing Improved YOUR Life?
Statistics are one thing; stories of real people enjoying the benefits of improved 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 someone else to take the first steps toward better hearing.