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It’s commonly suggested that we don’t truly 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 hard to detect; it’s also tough to appreciate just how much hearing improves our lives.

As one of our principal 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 restoring our hearing can have several health benefits that we never really stop to think about.

Here are three ways enhancing your hearing can elevate your social, mental, and physical health.

Hearing and Relationships

The foundation of any good relationship is communication, and with hearing loss, that foundation is compromised. Misunderstandings, hard-feelings, and avoidance can all result from hearing loss and the obstacle to communication it builds.

Hearing loss can be especially 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 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 aware 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 talked too loudly—not to mention that she constantly had to repeat herself—which was aggravating for her.

In this manner, hearing loss establishes a frustrating barrier to communication where both people harbor bad feelings towards each other.

In Charlie and Julie’s case, they had the awareness to identify the hearing loss and to take action to address it. After Charlie started wearing hearing aids, he no longer had to speak so loud, 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 improved communication he had with his wife.

Julie agreed, and both expressed how much stronger their relationship is without the weight 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 conducted by Hear The World Foundation, which revealed that 21 percent of those questioned stated that they exercised more after getting hearing aids. In addition, 34 percent said they regularly take part in sports at least once per week, and 69 percent feel that their hearing aids have a favorable effect on their overall health.

Hearing loss can make communication difficult 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, 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 link 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.

Clearly, the lack of sound stimulation to the brain with hearing loss produces several negative effects, ultimately causing 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 real people enjoying 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 someone else to take the first steps toward better hearing.