It’s frequently said that we don’t completely appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this appears to be particularly true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only difficult to detect; it’s also tough to appreciate just how much hearing improves our lives.
As one of our principal senses, along with vision, hearing influences our mental, social, and physical health, so when we compromise our hearing, we put our overall health in jeopardy. But restoring our hearing can have many health benefits that we never really stop to think about.
Here are three ways restoring your ability to hear can improve your social, mental, and physical health.
Hearing and Relationships
The foundation of any healthy relationship is communication, and with hearing loss, that foundation is destabilized. Miscommunication, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all result from hearing loss and the barrier to communication it yields.
Hearing loss can be particularly 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 difficult time hearing his wife.
But given that Charlie wasn’t aware of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie just talked too softly, which was frustrating for him. At the same time, Julie believed Charlie spoke too loudly—not to mention that she constantly had to repeat herself—which was frustrating for her.
In this way, hearing loss builds 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 recognize the hearing loss and to take action to correct it. After Charlie started wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to speak so loud, and he began hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one benefit he claimed he appreciated the most was the improved communication he had with his wife.
Julie concurred, 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 directed by Hear The World Foundation, which discovered that 21 percent of those questioned stated that they exercised more after acquiring hearing aids. Additionally, 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 overall health.
Hearing loss can make communication challenging to the point where people are inclined to avoid the social gatherings and activities that they used to love. 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.
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 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 using 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 enjoying 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 find yourself inspiring someone else to take the first steps toward better hearing.