Better Me

10 Surprising Benefits of Hearing Aids

It’s pretty clear that hearing aids are designed to improve your hearing. And even though that’s a solid benefit, that’s not all they do. If you have hearing loss, hearing aids can improve your life in other surprising ways, too.

“Hearing loss can significantly impact your overall quality of life. It can lead to social isolation, depression, frustration and other health issues,” said Treasure Scheib, an audiologist with Banner – University Medicine. “Using hearing aids may help people stay active in relationships, hobbies, work and activities.”

Here are ten unexpected ways hearing aids may improve your life.

1. Communication is better

When you use hearing aids, it’s easier to catch every word and change in tone of voice when you’re having conversations with family, friends, colleagues and new acquaintances. You can understand people better and make deeper connections.

2. It’s easier to join in social activities

Many people with hearing loss find it tough to interact with bigger groups or in crowded settings. When you use hearing aids and can hear more clearly, it’s easier to join in the conversations and experiences at family gatherings, parties with friends and events in your community. You might find that your social life improves.

3. You can build stronger connections

Human connections are based on communication. With hearing aids, you can understand others better and, in turn, express yourself more easily. That can help you create and reinforce the connections you have with the people you care about.

4. You can keep your brain strong 

Research has found a link between untreated hearing loss and brain function, including dementia. When you treat hearing loss, you may reduce the risk of having issues with your thinking as you get older. Hearing as well as possible may help keep your brain sharp.

Plus, it can be tiring for your brain when you often struggle to hear. With hearing aids, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard to figure out what you’re hearing when sounds aren’t clear. You can focus on tasks and conversations instead of on trying to understand what you’re hearing.   

5. You can feel more confident  

When you use hearing aids, you may find that your self-esteem is better. Your confidence grows naturally when you can communicate with less struggle. You may feel more comfortable, empowered and included in settings from casual gatherings to professional events. 

You may find that your perspective shifts and instead of seeing hearing loss as a limitation, you see the steps you’re taking to improve communication.

6. You may enjoy some activities more  

If your hearing has gotten worse over time, you might not enjoy things like listening to music, watching movies or attending live performances as much as you used to. You may also have trouble hearing at sporting events and outdoor activities. Hearing aids can give you clear sounds that make it more enjoyable to do things where you need better audio quality.

7. You may feel safer  

Sounds around you can clue you into dangers and warnings. When you’re crossing streets, doing things outdoors or in range of smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors, you’re better able to respond to risks when you can hear them. You may feel more secure knowing you’re more likely to hear warning sounds with your hearing aids.

8. You may lower your risk of falls

“Hearing loss forces the brain to use more resources to hear and process speech and sound, leaving fewer resources to focus on balance and gait,” Dr. Scheib said. So treating hearing loss can reduce your risk of balance issues and falling. 

9. You may sleep better

When you’re not stressed and anxious about how you communicate during the day, you may get a better night’s sleep.   

10. You may have more opportunities for success  

Hearing aids can make it easier for you to participate in meetings, work with colleagues and excel in your job. When you hear better and can communicate more effectively, you may find that your job performance improves and you have new career options. 

Overcoming challenges

“People tend to put hearing aids off longer than most things. It is important to get hearing aids sooner rather than later, so you get the most benefit,” Dr. Scheib said. 

Since hearing aids often aren’t covered by insurance, you may find they are hard to afford. “Look for resources in your community for people with hearing loss. Support groups often have information on resources for lower-cost hearing aids,” Dr. Scheib said. “And always check your insurance coverage, since there may be a benefit to help offset the cost.”

While hearing aids can give your life a lot of benefits, it can be hard to use them, especially at first. It can help to work closely with your health care providers to learn what assistive technologies are available. By clearing these hurdles, you can enjoy the benefits of life with better hearing. 

“Getting hearing aids is a process and it will take some time to adapt, but they give you benefits above and beyond better hearing. They can improve your quality of life,” Dr. Scheib said.

The bottom line

Hearing aids improve your hearing, of course. But they improve your quality of life in many other ways. They can help with your relationships, social life, job performance and mental health.

If you think your hearing may need some help and you’d like to talk with a health care provider about your options, reach out to Banner Health.

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