It’s often said that we don’t truly appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this seems to be especially true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only hard to detect; it’s also difficult to appreciate just how much hearing improves our lives.
As one of our chief senses, along with vision, hearing impacts our mental, social, and physical health, so when we lose our hearing, we put our overall health in jeopardy. But restoring our hearing can have several health benefits that we never really give much thought to.
Here are three ways improving your hearing can strengthen your social, mental, and physical health.
Hearing and Relationships
The foundation of any healthy relationship is communication, and with hearing loss, that foundation is compromised. Misunderstandings, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all occur from hearing loss and the barrier to communication it yields.
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 because the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had an especially difficult time hearing his wife.
But seeing that Charlie wasn’t conscious of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie simply talked too quietly, which was frustrating for him. At the same time, Julie thought Charlie talked too loudly—not to mention that she constantly had to repeat herself—which was aggravating for her.
In this way, hearing loss establishes a frustrating barrier to communication where both parties harbor bad feelings towards one another.
In Charlie and Julie’s case, they had the sense to recognize the hearing loss and to take action to tackle it. After Charlie began 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 reported he cherished the most was the enhanced communication he had with his wife.
Julie agreed, and both conveyed how much healthier their relationship is without the stress 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 questioned reported that they exercised more after getting hearing aids. Additionally, 34 percent said they actively participate in sports at least once per week, and 69 percent believe that their hearing aids have a favorable 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) found a strong link between hearing loss and depression among US adults of all ages.
Other studies by Johns Hopkins University have linked hearing loss to general cognitive decline, including memory issues as well as an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Clearly, the lack of sound stimulation to the brain with hearing loss causes several negative effects, bringing about 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 issues.
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 use 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.