A new year is upon us, and we all know what that means: New Year’s Resolutions! It’s time to think about the ways we can improve our lives in the year to come, and take steps to make ourselves healthier and happier!
Are you considering starting an exercise regimen? Keeping more in touch with friends and family? Getting out to the theater or museum more regularly? Good news: Hearing aids can help with all of those things!
Hearing Aids Break Down Barriers
Hearing aids are ultimately about delivering more information to your brain. Even mild hearing loss interferes with our ability to communicate freely and take in information from our environment. We may not even realize it, but that decreased amount of information coming inputs up barriers to all kinds of activities.
Those with untreated hearing loss tend to get less physical exercise and spend more time indoors. If you ask someone with hearing loss why they don’t go outside more often, they might not tell you, “Because I can’t hear what’s around me,” but that’s likely a major part of the reason. When we can’t hear what’s happening around us, we tend to feel more afraid. Our ears warn us of all kinds of hazards in our environment that we would otherwise not notice. This sense of unease has a subtle way of keeping us from venturing too far from the comforts of home.
When we get hearing aids, the world of sound comes alive again! We can hear what’s happening around us. We can participate easily and fluidly in conversations. And we feel more comfortable and at ease when we’re out of the house. Those with hearing aids report having fewer memory issues than those with untreated hearing loss, less fatigue, and indeed more physical activity. If your New Year’s Resolution involves getting out more, hearing aids will help you make it happen!
Hearing Aids Improve Relationships
One of the first things to suffer when mild hearing loss becomes an issue is the relationships we have with other people. Relationships rely on consistent communication, and as it becomes more difficult and frustrating to try to have a conversation, we tend to do it less often. Even couples who have been married for decades can start to have trouble connecting when hearing loss comes into the picture.
Thankfully, a good set of hearing aids can reopen the lines of communication with partners, friends, and loved ones. Hearing aids today are better than ever, and they can identify and accentuate speech while reducing background noise, so even a busy restaurant can become a place where you can connect with those who are important to you.
Hearing Aids Help Us Have More Energy
Anyone who has dealt with hearing loss can tell you how exhausting it is. Fatigue is part of hearing loss. For one, it is stressful to be unaware of what’s happening around you, and stress tires us out. For two, straining to hear conversations overworks our brains.
For a person who hears normally, sound enters the ears and makes its way to the brain. There, in the auditory cortex, speech is automatically identified, interpreted, and committed to short-term memory. Now this person can use their frontal cortex to think about the speech they’ve just heard, formulate a response, and continue the conversation.
For someone with untreated hearing loss, sound makes its way to the brain only partially. This person knows that there is speech coming in, but their ears aren’t providing a clear enough representation of it for the auditory cortex to do its work. Now they have to engage their frontal cortex in trying to imagine what was said. “Cat?” “Bat?” “Gnat?” If they ever get it figured out, there’s already more speech on the way in. Keeping up with the conversation becomes frustrating and unenjoyable, the conversation doesn’t last too long, and pretty soon they’re exhausted just from trying to hear.
Fortunately, hearing aids can eliminate this problem for most people with hearing loss. When hearing is natural and easy, listening is no longer an exhausting proposition! We can approach situations with the energy they deserve and enjoy ourselves while we’re at it!