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It’s commonly said that we don’t fully appreciate the things we have until they’re gone, and this appears to be specifically true of our ability to hear. Hearing loss is not only tough to detect; it’s also difficult 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 welfare in jeopardy. But repairing our hearing can have several health benefits that we never really stop to think about.

Here are three ways improving your hearing can strengthen 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. Miscommunication, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all result from hearing loss and the barrier to communication it yields.

Hearing loss can be especially 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 because the female voice is higher-pitched than the male voice, Charlie had a particularly tough time hearing his wife.

But seeing that Charlie wasn’t conscious of his hearing loss, he believed his wife Julie merely spoke too quietly, which was aggravating for him. At the same time, Julie believed 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 case, they had the sense to identify the hearing loss and to take action to fix it. After Charlie began wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to speak 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 concurred, and both conveyed how much healthier their relationship is without the burden 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 performed by Hear The World Foundation, which discovered that 21 percent of those interviewed reported 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 believe 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 enjoy. With hearing aids, you can pursue these activities more confidently, 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) discovered 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 issues as well as an enhanced risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Evidently, the lack of sound stimulation to the brain with hearing loss causes 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 issues.

How Has Better Hearing Improved YOUR Life?

Statistics are one thing; stories of real people enjoying the benefits of better 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.