Well Hearing is Well Being
Well-being is a very personal and multi-dimensional concept. It seems to inherently relate to things that we value in life. For one person it can be happiness, independence, or staying active. For another person it can be social participation, satisfying relationships with family and friends, or achievements in the workplace. One’s definition of well-being is likely to be fluid and can change throughout life. At times where we are confronted with physical health problems, physical well-being can take on a more prominent role. At times where we are in good physical shape, other aspects of well-being may be more important.
Human beings are social creatures. Above many things, we value connectedness. For good reason, it seems. Increasing evidence demonstrates that having supportive social ties is associated with better health outcomes, such as longer life expectancy better physical and better mental health . One of the longest longitudinal studies ever conducted even suggests that cognitive and emotional health in late-life may be mediated by succesful relationships – with signifcant others, at work, or in a community – around midlife.
If social connectedness is good for the brain and the body, how do hearing and hearing rehabilitation fit in? One of the growing concerns related to hearing loss is the association with a smaller social network feelings of loneliness, restriced interpersonal communication behavior and an impact on the perceived quality of relationships with others. What if this social-emotional burden associated with hearing loss acts as a mediating factor, negatively impacting long-term health outcomes? What if treating hearing loss could turn the situation around and allow us to live longer and healthier?