It’s often said 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 difficult to detect; it’s also tough to appreciate just how much hearing improves 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 wellness 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 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. Misunderstandings, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all result from hearing loss and the obstacle to communication it generates.
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 trouble 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 given that Charlie wasn’t aware of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie merely 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 aggravating for her.
In this way, hearing loss brings about a frustrating barrier to communication where both people harbor bad feelings towards one another.
In Charlie and Julie’s example, they had the good sense to recognize the hearing loss and to take action to fix it. After Charlie started wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to speak so loudly, and he started hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one perk he claimed 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 weight of hearing loss.
Hearing and Physical Health
Does wearing 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 surveyed stated that they exercised more after purchasing hearing aids. In addition, 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 overall 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 enjoy. With hearing aids, you can pursue these activities with confidence, leading to 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 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 causes several negative effects, resulting in 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 real people enjoying 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 end up inspiring others to take the first steps toward better hearing.