It’s often said that we don’t fully 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 difficult to detect; it’s also hard to appreciate just how much hearing enhances our lives.
As one of our primary senses, along with vision, hearing influences our mental, social, and physical health, so when we compromise our hearing, we put our overall wellness in jeopardy. But repairing our hearing can have several health benefits that we never really stop to think about.
Here are three ways improving your hearing can improve 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. Misunderstandings, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all result from hearing loss and the obstacle to communication it creates.
Hearing loss can be particularly 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 trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. And because the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had an especially hard time hearing his wife.
But given that Charlie wasn’t aware of his hearing loss, he believed his wife Julie just talked too softly, which was aggravating for him. At the same time, Julie thought Charlie spoke too loudly—not to mention that she always had to repeat herself—which was frustrating for her.
In this way, hearing loss yields a frustrating barrier to communication where both parties harbor bad feelings towards one another.
In Charlie and Julie’s example, they had the good sense to identify the hearing loss and to take action to tackle 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 benefit he reported he cherished the most was the improved 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 conducted by Hear The World Foundation, which revealed that 21 percent of those questioned reported that they exercised more after acquiring hearing aids. In addition, 34 percent said they regularly take part in sports at least once per week, and 69 percent feel that their hearing aids have a favorable effect on their overall health.
Hearing loss can make communication challenging 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) found 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 issues 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, bringing about 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 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 end up inspiring others to take the first steps toward better hearing.