It’s often suggested that we don’t truly 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 hard to detect; it’s also hard to appreciate just how much hearing enhances our lives.
As one of our main senses, along with vision, hearing impacts 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 enhancing 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 destabilized. Miscommunication, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all occur from hearing loss and the barrier 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 since 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 aware of his hearing loss, he believed his wife Julie just spoke 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 frustrating for her.
In this way, hearing loss generates a frustrating barrier to communication where both people harbor bad feelings towards each other.
In Charlie and Julie’s case, they had the good sense to identify the hearing loss and to take action to correct 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 perk he reported he cherished the most was the enhanced communication he had with his wife.
Julie concurred, and both conveyed how much stronger their relationship is without the burden 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 found that 21 percent of those questioned reported that they exercised more after acquiring hearing aids. Additionally, 34 percent said they regularly 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 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 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, 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 issues.
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 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.