It’s often said that we don’t fully appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this seems to be especially true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only tough to detect; it’s also tough to appreciate just how much hearing enhances our lives.
As one of our major senses, along with vision, hearing effects our mental, social, and physical health, so when we compromise our hearing, we put our overall welfare in jeopardy. But restoring our hearing can have several health benefits that we never really give much thought to.
Here are three ways restoring your ability to hear 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 destabilized. Misunderstandings, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all occur from hearing loss and the obstacle to communication it generates.
Hearing loss can be particularly 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 trouble 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 because Charlie wasn’t conscious of his hearing loss, he thought his wife Julie simply talked too quietly, 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 frustrating for her.
In this manner, hearing loss establishes a frustrating barrier to communication where both parties harbor bad feelings towards one another.
In Charlie and Julie’s example, they had the awareness to identify the hearing loss and to take action to fix it. After Charlie started wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to speak so loudly, and he began hearing new sounds, like the sounds of birds on the golf course. But the one benefit he reported he cherished the most was the enhanced communication he had with his wife.
Julie concurred, 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 conducted by Hear The World Foundation, which found that 21 percent of those interviewed reported that they exercised more after buying 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 challenging to the point where people tend to avoid the social events 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 link 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 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 reaping the benefits of better 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.