It’s commonly said that we don’t completely appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this seems to be particularly true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only hard to detect; it’s also hard to appreciate just how much hearing enhances our lives.
As one of our major senses, along with vision, hearing impacts our mental, social, and physical health, so when we lose our hearing, we put our overall well-being 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 enhance 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. Miscommunication, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all occur from hearing loss and the obstacle to communication it builds.
Hearing loss can be especially troublesome 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 challenging time hearing his wife.
But given that Charlie wasn’t aware of his hearing loss, he believed his wife Julie simply talked too quietly, which was frustrating for him. At the same time, Julie believed Charlie talked too loudly—not to mention that she constantly had to repeat herself—which was aggravating for her.
In this way, hearing loss generates 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 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 perk he reported he appreciated the most was the enhanced communication he had with his wife.
Julie concurred, 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 conducted by Hear The World Foundation, which revealed that 21 percent of those interviewed stated that they exercised more after acquiring hearing aids. Additionally, 34 percent said they actively 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 difficult 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, resulting in 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 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 produces several negative effects, leading to 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 reaping 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 others to take the first steps toward better hearing.