It’s frequently said that we don’t truly 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 improves our lives.
As one of our primary senses, along with vision, hearing effects our mental, social, and physical health, so when we compromise our hearing, we put our overall health in jeopardy. But repairing our hearing can have several health benefits that we never really stop to think about.
Here are three ways enhancing your hearing can elevate 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. Miscommunication, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all result from hearing loss and the barrier to communication it produces.
Hearing loss can be especially disruptive 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 since 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 quietly, which was aggravating for him. At the same time, Julie thought Charlie talked too loudly—not to mention that she constantly had to repeat herself—which was aggravating for her.
In this manner, hearing loss generates 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 address 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 appreciated the most was the improved communication he had with his wife.
Julie agreed, and both conveyed how much healthier 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 discovered that 21 percent of those surveyed stated that they exercised more after getting hearing aids. In addition, 34 percent said they regularly participate 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 with confidence, leading to 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) found a strong connection 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.
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 enjoying 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 end up inspiring someone else to take the first steps toward better hearing.