The Harvard Study of Adult Development is one of the longest studies on human happiness to ever be conducted. The study spanned eight decades and utilized multiple teams of researchers throughout the years. The study aimed to determine the key factors for human happiness and longevity. According to Robert Waldinger, director of the study, one thing surpasses all the rest in terms of importance:
“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
According to the study, it was not the number of friends or whether or not people were in committed romantic partnerships that made the difference. The most important factor was the quality of one’s close relationships – be that friendships, partnerships, or relationships with family members.
Ok, so relationships are foundational to our lifelong happiness and longevity, what does this have to do with hearing aids?
According to multiple studies from across the globe, hearing aids have the capability to vastly improve the quality of one’s relationships, and better relationships mean a happier, healthier, and longer life.
Hearing aids and romantic relationships.
Hearing aids can greatly improve our romantic relationships. Oftentimes, it is our spouse or partner that first recognizes the signs of our hearing loss. They may feel that we are not listening to them or are not interested in what they are saying. Some spouses feel ignored and frustrated when communicating with their partner and choose to stay quiet and quit communicating instead.
When hearing loss is treated with hearing aids, however, all of this begins to change. Hearing aids help us to connect in the quieter moments. The whispered “I love you” during your granddaughter’s dance recital or hearing your wife’s soft humming while she completes her crossword puzzle. Study after study finds that couples report feeling happier and more connected in their relationship after choosing to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids. When we can hear, we can better communicate, and better communication leads to happier and more content marriages.
Hearing aids and relationships with friends and family.
Untreated hearing loss can also have a very negative impact on our relationships with our friends and family. Many people with untreated hearing loss begin to withdraw socially, and choose not to participate in social events they used to love. Many times, this is due to the fact that having conversations with groups of people in noisy environments is extremely frustrating when hearing loss is untreated. When you are at a social gathering and cannot hear the conversation, it can lead to feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression.
Hearing aids of today are power-packed with technology that is specifically focused on making conversations with groups of people easier and more enjoyable – even in busy and noisy environments. When people choose to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids, they are more likely to participate in the social activities that are critical to keeping friendships and familial relationships alive and healthy.
Hearing aids and relationships at work.
Untreated hearing loss even has the potential to negatively impact our relationships with our coworkers. Studies have found that people with untreated hearing loss are often seen as less competent, and less intelligent than their peers without hearing loss or those who choose to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss can make work events such as happy hour feel unbearable – thus causing us to choose to opt out of social gatherings that are key to building strong relationships with our colleagues.
Hearing aids can help in the workplace as well! Studies have found that choosing to treat your hearing loss with hearing aids can mitigate these negative effects. When we have the confidence that we can hear and understand the conversations happening around us, we are more likely to chime in and contribute in more meaningful ways at work and at work social events.
Hearing aids and relationships with self.
Hearing aids have also been found to improve one’s relationship with him or herself! Choosing to treat hearing loss with hearing aids has been linked to a reduced risk for anxiety, depression and social isolation. People who treat hearing loss also report higher levels of self-esteem on average than those with untreated hearing loss.