It’s often said that we don’t fully 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 hard to appreciate just how much hearing improves our lives.
As one of our main 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 restoring our hearing can have many health benefits that we never really give much thought to.
Here are three ways improving your hearing can enrich 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 occur from hearing loss and the barrier to communication it builds.
Hearing loss can be especially disruptive 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 an especially difficult time hearing his wife.
But given that Charlie wasn’t aware of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie merely spoke too softly, which was frustrating 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 way, hearing loss renders a frustrating barrier to communication where both people harbor bad feelings towards each other.
In Charlie and Julie’s case, they had the sense to identify the hearing loss and to take action to fix it. After Charlie started wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to talk so loudly, and he started hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one perk he reported he cherished the most was the improved communication he had with his wife.
Julie agreed, and both conveyed how much stronger 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 performed by Hear The World Foundation, which found that 21 percent of those surveyed reported that they exercised more after acquiring hearing aids. Additionally, 34 percent said they regularly 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 tend to avoid the social gatherings and activities that they used to love. With hearing aids, you can pursue these activities more confidently, resulting in 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) found a strong connection between hearing loss and depression among US adults of all ages.
Clearly, the lack of sound stimulation to the brain with hearing loss produces 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 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 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 others to take the first steps toward better hearing.