It’s often suggested that we don’t completely appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this appears to be especially true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only tough to detect; it’s also hard to appreciate just how much hearing improves our lives.
As one of our chief senses, along with vision, hearing effects 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 many health benefits that we never really give much thought to.
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 compromised. Miscommunication, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all occur from hearing loss and the obstacle to communication it produces.
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 difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. And because the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had a particularly tough time hearing his wife.
But because Charlie wasn’t conscious of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie just talked 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 parties harbor bad feelings towards each other.
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 started wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to talk so loudly, and he began hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one perk he reported he appreciated the most was the improved communication he had with his wife.
Julie agreed, and both expressed 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 directed by Hear The World Foundation, which discovered that 21 percent of those interviewed reported that they exercised more after purchasing hearing aids. In addition, 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 tend to avoid the social gatherings and activities that they used to love. With hearing aids, you can pursue these activities more confidently, resulting in 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) discovered a strong link between hearing loss and depression among US adults of all ages.
Other studies by Johns Hopkins University have linked 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 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 issues.
How Has Better Hearing Improved YOUR Life?
Statistics are one thing; stories of actual people reaping the benefits of improved 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.