Human beings are social creatures: we need other people to go through life and share our thoughts with. Family and friends play a key role in this, as they provide an environment in which we feel secure and understood. In this familiar community, it is particularly important for communication to function properly and for people to understand what others are saying. But what if this understanding is impeded by a loss of hearing? The "Hearing is Living" study conducted by the Hear the World initiative gets to the bottom of this question and reveals, among other things, that people with hearing loss enjoy a better relationship with their family and friends and take more pleasure in communal activities as a result of wearing a hearing aid.
Hear the World, an initiative launched by the hearing aid manufacturer Phonak, set up the "Hearing is Living" study to shed light on the importance of hearing for our quality of life. For this purpose the independent Swiss Market Research and Strategy Consultancy zehnvier questioned more than 4,300 people in Germany, France, Switzerland, Great Britain and the USA.
One of the key findings of the study is that 73 percent of the people with hearing loss who were surveyed report their relationship with their family improved since they started wearing a hearing aid. 78 percent claim that their hearing aids have a positive effect on their relationship with friends and make communal activities more enjoyable again. Another interesting observation is that 41 percent of the hearing aid users surveyed who suffer from moderate to severe hearing loss indicated that they have a large circle of friends. By contrast, only 27 percent of the people who have the same degree of hearing loss but do not wear a hearing aid agreed with this statement.
It is therefore hardly surprising that acquiring a hearing aid has a positive effect on the well-being of the user, but also on their environment: 41 percent of the relatives surveyed stated that their own lives have improved when their family member got a hearing aid. "Untreated hearing loss in a family member is an issue that concerns the entire family. Too afraid to engage in conversations, those affected often draw back and shut themselves off. Compromised hearing can also lead to miscommunication and have a negative effect on the harmony within the family. Improving hearing by means of a hearing aid can help remedy this," explains Prof. Martin Ohlmeier, Director of the Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Clinic at Klinikum Kassel/Germany.
Another finding that has emerged from the study is that 62 percent of the hearing aid users surveyed report that since they started wearing a hearing aid their hearing loss is no longer an issue among their family and friends. 86 percent feel that their friends accept them just as they are.
A stress-free relationship with family and friends and more enjoyment in communal activities: the main conclusion to be drawn from the "Hearing is Living" study is that good hearing has a positive effect on personal relationships. No matter whether you suffer from mild, moderate or severe hearing loss, you can make your friendships and relationships easier - and therefore enhance your life - if you do something about it.