It’s often said that we don’t fully 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 tough to detect; it’s also difficult to appreciate just how much hearing enhances our lives.
As one of our principal senses, along with vision, hearing influences our mental, social, and physical health, so when we compromise our hearing, we put our overall well-being 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 elevate 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. Misunderstandings, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all result 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 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 difficult time hearing his wife.
But seeing that Charlie wasn’t conscious of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie merely spoke too softly, which was aggravating 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 way, hearing loss establishes 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 recognize the hearing loss and to take action to address it. After Charlie began wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to talk so loud, and he began hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one perk he reported he cherished the most was the improved communication he had with his wife.
Julie agreed, and both expressed how much stronger 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 discovered that 21 percent of those questioned stated that they exercised more after getting hearing aids. In addition, 34 percent said they actively take part in sports at least once per week, and 69 percent believe that their hearing aids have a positive effect on their general health.
Hearing loss can make communication difficult to the point where people tend to avoid the social gatherings and activities that they used to love. With hearing aids, you can pursue these activities with confidence, leading to more exercise and better 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 increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Clearly, 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 using 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.