Hearing accompanies us throughout our lives; it shapes and influences every part of our world. Hearing enables us to communicate with others. Sounds are there with us in our daily life – some relax us, others cause stress. Much of what we hear we enjoy. There are everyday sounds we no longer even notice, and other noises we would rather just avoid. We need our ears to communicate with other people, and when we want to listen to music or make music ourselves.
But these are only the better-known facets of the subject. On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Hear the World initiative, we commissioned a large study to shed light on the lesser known aspects of hearing. In all, we surveyed over 4,000 people in five countries, on diverse topics related to hearing in all areas of life. In addition, we asked experts from relevant specialist areas for their assessment of the study results, and once again reached the conclusion: Hearing is Living!
For example, did you know that our hearing is partly responsible for how well we sleep at night, how often we exercise, where we go on vacation or how attractive we think we are? Or would you have thought that the quality of our hearing also affects our personal relationships? Or how happy we are in partnerships?
With its large number of participants and its comprehensive study design “Hearing is Living” provides many fascinating insights. Not only the overall results, but also the international comparison between responses is interesting, as there are distinct differences between the different countries.
THREE IMPORTANT FINDINGS
Firstly, hearing influences so many areas of our everyday life that improved hearing has one benefit above all others: enhanced quality of life. Better hearing means better communication – in our relationships with our partners, as well as toward friends and family. Good hearing is not merely of benefit to yourself: its positive effects are also directly measurable among family, relatives and partners – this is the first significant insight gained from this study.
The second important insight of the study is that better hearing enables us to experience life in a more active, healthier way, and with fewer restrictions. Stress is reduced, or may be avoided in the first place, concentration is improved, and relaxation is easier. In this way, good hearing also contributes to enhanced personal wellbeing and general health.
And thirdly, looking at the way people perceive the hearing capability of others, the study shows very clearly that wearing a hearing aid does not have any negative effect on attractiveness. On the contrary: not only relatives and partners, but also the unaffected people in the control group have a very open and positive attitude to the subject of “hearing loss and hearing aids”. That is the final, and very welcome, insight to come out of the “Hearing is Living” research study.