It is commonly said that we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone, and this is particularly true of our ability to hear. The impact of hearing loss on our life cannot be underestimated.
Impact on Life
Our hearing is often something that we lose gradually over time and it can be difficult to appreciate just how much our hearing enriches so many aspects of our lives.
As one of our primary senses, our ability to hear has consequences for our broader social, physical and mental health. When we lose our hearing, our overall health can be compromised. However, maintaining healthy hearing through education, regular hearing checks and seeking medical advice can have positive health benefits.
Impact on Relationships
Communication is an important foundation for any good relationship. When your hearing declines, that foundation can be compromised. What commonly results is misunderstandings, frustration and feelings of being ignored. Most significantly, a hearing loss can influence some people to avoid social situations, or even talking altogether. In turn, this may create an unhealthy situation of loneliness and isolation.
Our hearing, like our eyesight, declines as part of the natural aging process. An individual whose hearing has gradually declined may not recognise that they even have a problem. But those closest to them almost certainly will. It is common to hear our clients explain that their partner or friend mumbles, or talks too softly. While at the same time their partner protests that they continually have to repeat themselves and that the individual speaks too loudly. This situation can be difficult for all concerned.
While hearing aids are not the only solution, nor are they necessarily the right solution for every individual, they do (in most cases) dramatically help to improve the communication within a relationship.
Impact on Physical Health
Hearing loss can cause communication problems to the extent where people avoid attending social gatherings and recreational pursuits they used to enjoy. By taking the appropriate steps to improve your hearing health, you can pursue these activities with confidence, resulting in increased exercise and improved physical health.
According to a survey conducted by Hear The World Foundation – ‘Hearing is Living’,* 21% of respondents surveyed claimed that they exercised more after being fitted with hearing aids. A further, 34% stated they actively participate in sports at least once per week, and 69% think that their hearing aids have a positive effect on their general health and well-being.
Impact on Mental Health
Research studies have shown a clear connection between hearing loss and depression among adults of all ages. Hearing loss has also been linked to general cognitive decline, including memory deterioration and an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.*
The absence of sound stimulation to the brain can make processing speech and other sounds more difficult and fatiguing. It can result in increased risk of depression, social isolation and potential cognitive decline. The positive news is, research has shown that wearing hearing aids stimulates the auditory nerve, which can reduce the negative impact of hearing loss.
If your life has been transformed through the use of hearing aids we’d love to hear your story. You may find yourself inspiring somebody else to take the first steps toward better hearing!
Alternatively, if you or someone you know is having difficulty with their hearing, the best course of action is to seek treatment as soon as possible. We urge you to make an appointment with one of our university qualified audiologists who will test your hearing abilities and develop a holistic plan tailored to your individual needs.
*Lin, F. R., Yaffe, K., Xia, J., Xue, Q. L., Harris, T. B., Purchase-Helzner, E., … & Health ABC Study Group. (2013). Hearing loss and cognitive decline in older adults. JAMA internal medicine, 173(4), 293-299.