It’s often suggested that we don’t completely appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this seems to be particularly true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only tough to detect; it’s also tough to appreciate just how much hearing enhances our lives.
As one of our main senses, along with vision, hearing effects our mental, social, and physical health, so when we lose our hearing, we put our overall welfare in jeopardy. But repairing our hearing can have several health benefits that we never really stop to think about.
Here are three ways restoring your ability to hear can enhance your social, mental, and physical health.
Hearing and Relationships
The foundation of any good 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 builds.
Hearing loss can be especially troublesome 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 tough time hearing his wife.
But because Charlie wasn’t aware of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie merely talked too quietly, 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 manner, 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 identify the hearing loss and to take action to deal with it. After Charlie began 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 enhanced communication he had with his wife.
Julie concurred, and both conveyed 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 found that 21 percent of those interviewed stated that they exercised more after buying hearing aids. Additionally, 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 general health.
Hearing loss can make communication challenging to the point where people tend 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) discovered 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, 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 real people reaping 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 someone else to take the first steps toward better hearing.