Uncommon Knowledge: How Hearing Aids Can Help

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While the first step towards bring hearing aids into our lives can be the hardest, by the time we’ve settled into our new devices, the results are consistently positive. It’s common to not even be aware of everything we’re missing, especially the more subtle aspects of our lives that can gently fade away with the sounds we no longer hear.

The Better Hearing Institute and The National Council on Aging have sought to get a deeper understanding of the full breadth of effects that hearing aids present in user’s lives. They have performed user surveys and studies on what life is like before and after people have added hearing aids to their daily routines.

Some of their findings were less anticipated than others. Of course, the typical answers about the usefulness of hearing what’s being said and the enjoyment of listening to loved ones’ voices again were there across the board. But what was surprising were the reflections on how much the user’s overall emotional and even physical well being had improved. Furthermore, the level of detail on just how much untreated hearing loss can affect the brain and one’s earning capacity was revealing.

Below are some of the astonishing benefits of wearing hearing aids:

Increased Confidence

Research reveals that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids feel more self-assured and engaged in their own lives. Those who have elected for hearing aids report greater freedom, security, and better feelings about themselves. This, consequently, influences their entire mental outlook and helps support their anticipation of positive results.

Better Cognition

Fairly recent research has uncovered a link between dementia and untreated hearing loss, with some studies going as far as showing that leaving hearing loss untreated can even increase the risk for dementia by as much as 36% down the road. Cognitive decline as the result of poor hearing capacity continues to be studied, and current findings have highlighted a link between increased loss of memory for individuals who denied hearing aids despite needing them.

Improved Income

While the findings that wearing hearing aids is related to better earning ability is an understandable conclusion, many folks are surprised to hear the real amounts related to these results. The Better Hearing Institute’s national survey found that annual household earnings were reduced by $30,000 in some cases, depending on the severity of hearing loss. Moreover, they found the use of hearing aids avoided this deficit by 90 to 100% for milder hearing loss, and by 65 to 77% for more severe hearing loss.

Improved Relationships

From feeling left out of group dialogues, as sharing conversation with others becomes increasingly challenging and uncomfortable, to preventing societal confrontations completely, the effects of hearing loss on a person’s sense of connectedness can be serious. Individuals report that not only does their ability to participate readily in social scenarios greatly improve by wearing hearing aids, but that it also raises their interest in preserving a strong social network. It’s not surprising that having a sense of community is important for an individual’s overall wellbeing, but it can be a shock to see how far we can stray from that as our hearing slowly worsens.

Better Physical Well-Being

It’s common to underestimate the depth of our body’s interdependent nature, and perhaps this is why the impact that our hearing health can have on something like our heart health is surprising. But studies have made this one quite clear: heart health and hearing health are definitely linked. It turns out, our hearing capacity provides a unique window into the performance of the heart, and the heart’s health directly impacts hearing health. Researchers believe this has to do with how dependent our complex hearing system is on acceptable blood circulation to the inner ear, where even slight fluctuations in circulation are evident. And the relationship is apparently bidirectional, as more research shows that people with hearing aids are more likely to engage in healthy cardiovascular activities. Studies have validated what users have reported: hearing aids help them feel better, and feeling good is apparently a necessary ingredient for healthy habits.

As if recovering our ability to hear our favourite tunes with clarity, the voices of our family and friends, and the birds chirping again isn’t enough, an increasing variety of powerful advantages of hearing aids are being added to this list every year. Talk to your hearing specialist if you’re prepared for these benefits in your life.

Resources:
http://www.betterhearing.org/news/how-can-treating-hearing-loss-help-me-stay-youthful-and-active
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-hearing-cognition-aids-idUSKBN0N82GG20150417
https://www.aaas.org/news/early-intervention-speech-hearing-language-disorders-could-yield-benefits
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/04/04/aje.kwu333.abstract?sid=0d38289e-ca1a-4718-bbc0-f0156229ae0d
http://www.betterhearing.org/sites/default/files/quality_of_life.pdf
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/fullarticle/1835392

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