Hearing aids are medical devices that are designed to enhance hearing in people with hearing impairment. They are available in various types in accordance to people’s differing preferences such as behind the ear aids, in the ear aids, and so on. Hearing aids augment one’s hearing through a variety of ways. These include making quiet sounds audible and providing overall ear protection. However, a slightly varied function of hearing aids is also to improve mental health. Interesting, isn’t it?
Listed below are five ways in which hearing aids positively impact mental well-being in deaf people:
1. Diminishes cognitive impairment
A loss of hearing in individuals can subsequently lead to a decrease in the brain’s capacity to function efficiently. Hearing aids tend to combat this condition and ensure stable cognition throughout.
The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published a 25-year study in 2015. The objective of the study was to investigate the association of hearing loss, cognitive decline and the use of hearing aids in people with impaired auditory areas of the brain. 3,670 patients participated in the study and a 25-year follow up was conducted. Results concluded that people who had used hearing aids showed no cognitive impairment after 25 years while people who did not use the device showed a significantly high decline in their cognitive abilities.
Decrease in cognitive capacity is worth taking urgent note of as it is intricately linked to Alzheimer’s. Cognitive decline has become fairly ubiquitous now, and a braintest reveals that people diagnosed with an impaired cognition often show symptoms of Alzheimer’s as well.
2. Lower levels of depression
An impairment in the auditory areas of our brain results in mounting depression levels. In fact, there is a direct correlation between hearing impairment in an individual and the depression they go through. However, hearing aids have the potency to minimize depression.
The National Council on Hearing conducted a survey involving over 4,000 people. 2,069 participants were people who wore hearing aids, and 1,710 participants were family members of the former group. It was found that people with hearing aids did not perceive themselves as being depressed in contrast to people who did not wear any hearing device.
It was also found that people who did not use hearing instruments reported lesser levels of social, emotional, physical and mental well-being. Hearing aid users were also generally more socially active and experienced less paranoia, worry and insecurity compared to the other group.
3. Better memory and mental sharpness
A study was carried out at Texas A&M University with a group of participants in their 50s and 60s. These participants had a bilateral sensor neural hearing loss and had never worn hearing aids. They were given hearing devices, and cognitive tests were conducted before and after their usage of these devices.
These tests examined areas such as memory, attention and processing capabilities. After two weeks of hearing aids’ usage, results revealed an enhancement in processing abilities and working memory. Selective attention tests also yielded positive outcomes for participants who had used hearing instruments.
Their ability to concentrate along with their overall mental acuity had significantly improved, and the participants exhibited an improvement in all of their cognitive skills as well.
4. Relieves stress
People with impaired hearing are incapable of listening to a variety of sounds that act as stress relievers because of their soothing nature. These sounds mostly include sounds of nature such as the chirping of birds, the roaring of the waves in a river or an ocean and so on. These sounds calm the mind and help an individual unwind. It has been found that nature aids in reducing a number of negative emotions such as fear, stress, anxiety and frustration. All in all, it positively effects one’s well-being. Therefore, people with hearing aids will subsequently also report lower levels of high blood pressure, muscle tension and faster heart rates. According to scientists such as Stamatakis and Mitchell, less stress may also reduce mortality.
Thus, people who turn to hearing devices for assistance are able to hear the various sounds of nature and derive pleasure from them. This biologically affects their mood by relieving them of stress and anxiety.
5. Improves social life
An extremely common consequence of hearing impairment is that people’s social lives are affected in negative ways. They cannot function entirely well in social circles because they face difficulties in keeping up with conversations. This leads to their social lives deteriorating and most of these people, as a result, soon begin to experience isolation. They cut off ties with their family and friends which, in turn, leads to feelings of depression among them.
Research has revealed that poor social relationships influence one’s health. Being incapable of joining social circles leads to people feeling left out as a result. Thus, wearing hearing aids can ensure that individuals with hearing impairment can confidently take part in conversations and not miss out on anything.
All in all, hearing aids are a blessing. They not only allow people with auditory impairment to hear like normal people would but they are also inextricably linked to a number of other aspects in our lives that affect the overall quality of life. For instance, not being able to keep up with conversations may sound like an insignificant problem to some but when it subsequently leads to depression and isolation, the problem suddenly exacerbates tenfold. Similarly, cognitive impairment begins with a minor case and may lead to Alzheimer’s.
This is precisely the reason why hearing aids are highly recommended. Alongside preventing certain negative emotions such as stress, depression and anxiety among individuals, hearing instruments improve cognition too.