It’s often 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 hard to detect; it’s also hard to appreciate just how much hearing improves our lives.
As one of our principal senses, along with vision, hearing impacts 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 many health benefits that we never really give much thought to.
Here are three ways improving your hearing can strengthen 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 result from hearing loss and the obstacle to communication it builds.
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 since the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had a particularly difficult time hearing his wife.
But because Charlie wasn’t conscious of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie simply spoke too softly, which was aggravating for him. At the same time, Julie believed Charlie spoke too loudly—not to mention that she always had to repeat herself—which was aggravating for her.
In this manner, hearing loss forms a frustrating barrier to communication where both parties harbor bad feelings towards one another.
In Charlie and Julie’s case, they had the sense to recognize the hearing loss and to take action to tackle it. After Charlie began 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 enhanced communication he had with his wife.
Julie agreed, and both conveyed how much healthier 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 conducted by Hear The World Foundation, which discovered that 21 percent of those questioned stated that they exercised more after buying 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 overall health.
Hearing loss can make communication difficult 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, resulting in more exercise and better 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.
Evidently, the lack of sound stimulation to the brain with hearing loss causes several negative effects, ultimately causing an increased risk of depression, social isolation, and mental decline. But the good news is, studies have also shown that using 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 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 others to take the first steps toward better hearing.