To many people, hearing loss is a topical problem with a topical solution: You can’t hear as well as you used to? Get hearing aids and you’ll be fine. But the reality is that hearing loss has far-reaching effects on all aspects of life — and better hearing can do wonders to reverse or mitigate those effects, whether it’s through using your hearing system more consistently or upgrading your current technology to improve your range of sound. Below are five ways that hearing your best can help you live the life you want to live:
- Keep Your Brain Sharp. Studies over the past few years by Johns Hopkins researchers have detailed a number of associations between hearing loss and decreased brain function. Individuals with untreated hearing loss face a greater likelihood of developing dementia and a much greater incidence of balance issues. Because hearing loss affects the auditory cortex of the brain — an area also associated with memory — lack of stimulation to that area can lead to atrophy. Researchers have found that even a mild hearing loss contributes to an additional square inch per year of brain shrinkage in seniors. Keeping the auditory cortex strong through stimulation, which is aided by hearing instruments, can help prevent cognitive troubles.
- Increase Your Income Potential. Being able to properly hear your co-workers, bosses, and clients is an important aspect of employment, but you may not have considered the benefit of better hearing in relation to your income potential. According to a 1999 survey by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), the net income difference reported among 51- to 61-year-olds is a difference of nearly $40,000 per year. Investing in better hearing can truly pay off.
- Experience a Higher Overall Quality of Life. Individuals with untreated hearing loss report greater dissatisfaction with their relationships, friendships, family life, health, and finances. The benefits of hearing aid treatment are found to be significant in study after study, with NCOA’s 1999 research revealing that those who received treatment saw vast improvements in relations at home, with children and grandchildren, and at work, as well as a greater sense of safety in general.
- Improve Your Confidence. One confounding aspect of hearing loss is that the very technology that makes lives better holds a certain stigma for the user, be it real or imagined. About one in five users admits to being embarrassed about wearing a hearing aid, but most users experience a breakthrough in self-image and self-confidence after experiencing what better hearing does for their lives. The NCOA survey states that hearing aids improve user self-image by about 50 percent on average, and self-confidence by about 39 percent on average.
- See — and Hear — the Bright Side of Life. Depression is more common in those with hearing loss, potentially because of a tendency to withdraw from social situations. Anxiety and paranoia are also more common, as is the perception of anger toward the individual with hearing loss. Hearing aids allow the user to experience more of what the world has to offer through better communication.