Addressing your hearing loss could lead to a longer and happier life

According to recent research from the Harvard Medical School1, addressing hearing loss can provide the secret to happiness for you and your loved ones.

What can make those you love truly happy? Is it fame, fortune, or good looks? No, it’s you!

A Harvard Medical School study has revealed that close bonds with others is the secret to happiness and longevity.

Robert Waldinger, study director and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, explains:

“Those who kept warm relationships live longer and happier.”

Alternatively, “Loneliness kills,” he said. “It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”

Over time, hearing difficulties lead to feelings of isolation and frustration. People will start making excuses to avoid noisy environments and social settings.

Hearing loss is also linked to increased risks of depression, memory and concentration decline, and early-onset dementia

Despite the social impacts and hidden costs of hearing loss, hearing aid adoption remains low. Slower adopters state ‘price’ as one reason for persisting without hearing aids. Low adoption rates are regrettable, especially given the reactions of those who addresses their hearing difficulties.

“Clientsfeeling more confident, younger, happier, and more connected to their community as a result of better hearing.” Explains South Australian Audiometrist, Dean Laird.

“But I’m too young for hearing aids!”

Hearing loss doesn’t discriminate based on perceptions of youthfulness or sexiness. Therefore, we should disregard any vanity issues, and attend our health and wellbeing. That means addressing hearing loss early.

It’s common for people to think “I’m still too young for hearing aids”, but our clients usually wish they’d done something sooner. Recent research backs this client feedback.

Sensory deprivation –“Use it or lose it”

One study5 compared people who were fitted with hearing aids for both ears against others fitted with a single hearing aid. Scientists found that a person’s ability to understand speech deteriorated faster in an unaided ear than one fitted with a hearing aid. If the period without a hearing aid is long enough then full advantages of stereo hearing may never be attainable. That is, “If you don’t use it, you may lose it.”

Neural plasticity –“Use it or it’ll start doing something else”

First-time hearing aid wearers, and those with more severe hearing losses, may say something like “it sounds tinny”. This is due to changes in thebrain that occurred when it was deprived of sounds, rather than the sound quality of the hearing aid.

Sounds are processed by neurons that are “wired” to process them at specific frequencies. When neurons are denied sound, the brain will reprogram those neurons to do something else. In simple terms, “use it, or it will start doing something else”.

This has led to three key improvements in the field of hearing care:

Early intervention will produce the greatest long-term benefit and satisfaction for wearers of hearing aids.

Aural rehabilitation is often necessary, particularly when fitting hearing aids to someone who has lived with hearing loss for a long time.

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