It’s frequently said that we don’t truly 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 enhances our lives.
As one of our chief senses, along with vision, hearing impacts our mental, social, and physical health, so when we lose our hearing, we put our overall wellness in jeopardy. But repairing 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 enhance 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. Misunderstandings, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all occur from hearing loss and the barrier 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 trouble hearing high-pitched sounds. And because the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had a particularly challenging time hearing his wife.
But seeing that Charlie wasn’t conscious of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie simply spoke too quietly, which was aggravating for him. At the same time, Julie thought Charlie spoke too loudly—not to mention that she constantly had to repeat herself—which was aggravating for her.
In this way, hearing loss builds a frustrating barrier to communication where both people harbor bad feelings towards each other.
In Charlie and Julie’s example, they had the awareness to recognize 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 began hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one benefit he reported he appreciated the most was the enhanced communication he had with his wife.
Julie concurred, and both conveyed how much healthier their relationship is without the burden 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 revealed that 21 percent of those questioned reported that they exercised more after buying hearing aids. In addition, 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 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 connection 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, 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 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 others to take the first steps toward better hearing.