It’s frequently said that we don’t fully appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this seems to be specifically true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only tough to detect; it’s also difficult to appreciate just how much hearing improves our lives.
As one of our main senses, along with vision, hearing impacts 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 many health benefits that we never really stop to think about.
Here are three ways improving your hearing can strengthen your social, mental, and physical health.
Hearing and Relationships
The foundation of any healthy relationship is communication, and with hearing loss, that foundation is weakened. Misunderstandings, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all result from hearing loss and the obstacle to communication it yields.
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 difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. And since the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had a particularly hard time hearing his wife.
But because Charlie wasn’t aware of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie merely spoke too quietly, which was aggravating for him. At the same time, Julie thought Charlie talked too loudly—not to mention that she always 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 each other.
In Charlie and Julie’s example, they had the awareness to identify the hearing loss and to take action to correct it. After Charlie began wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to talk so loud, and he began hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one benefit he claimed he cherished the most was the improved communication he had with his wife.
Julie agreed, and both conveyed 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 found that 21 percent of those surveyed reported that they exercised more after buying hearing aids. Additionally, 34 percent said they actively participate 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 difficult to the point where people are inclined to avoid the social events and activities that they used to enjoy. With hearing aids, you can pursue these activities with confidence, resulting in 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 link between hearing loss and depression among US adults of all ages.
Evidently, the lack of sound stimulation to the brain with hearing loss produces 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 problems.
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.