It’s commonly suggested 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 hard to detect; it’s also tough to appreciate just how much hearing improves our lives.
As one of our main senses, along with vision, hearing influences our mental, social, and physical health, so when we lose 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 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. Misunderstandings, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all occur from hearing loss and the obstacle to communication it builds.
Hearing loss can be particularly 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 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 thought his wife Julie just spoke too quietly, 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 frustrating for her.
In this manner, hearing loss builds a frustrating barrier to communication where both people harbor bad feelings towards one another.
In Charlie and Julie’s case, they had the awareness to recognize the hearing loss and to take action to fix 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 benefit he claimed 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 wearing 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 questioned reported that they exercised more after acquiring hearing aids. In addition, 34 percent said they actively 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 challenging 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, leading to 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) 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, bringing about 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 reaping 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 others to take the first steps toward better hearing.