Senior Citizen's Guide to Pittsburgh 2017 Summer/Fall Edition - page 21

potentially damaging noise each year. Many people don’t
realize they have a hearing loss until it’s too late. Even
then, you might not realize your hearing has gotten
worse because you no longer have a reference point for
understanding what healthy hearing is.
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Psychologically
Music has the strongest emotional impact of any type
of sound for two reasons: It’s easily recognizable and
easy to associate. However, it’s not the only kind of
sound that affects emotional state. Birds chirping is an
example: In our primitive days, birdsong was generally
a reassuring sound. When the forest became quiet,
that’s when it was time to worry.
About 48 million people in the United States alone
have significant hearing loss. Those who seek treatment
often see improvement in their overall health.
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• New hearing aid users experience less anxiety
after starting hearing aid use.
• Hearing aid users experience a reduction in
depression, as measured by a geriatric depression
scale.
• Hearing aid use is shown to improve generic and
hearing-related quality of life.
Behaviorally
Sounds — whether they are pleasant, intense, or
annoying — can change our behavior. A fire alarm
gets your attention and makes you want to get away
from the sound. Contrast that with what you do when
you hear your favorite singer live in concert (hopefully
you’re dancing!).
Ever wondered why some people have a strong
reaction to sounds? It’s called misophonia. This condition
is defined as the hatred of sound; however, “a person
with misophonia does not simply hate all sound. People
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