According to a Harvard study the key to happiness in life is good relationships. The study found that having someone you can rely upon benefits your nervous system, brain health and overall emotional well-being. To build meaningful relationships, good hearing is essential and here is why.

To build and maintain strong connections with a new friend, family member or even your own spouse, communication is the key. Specifically, you need to be a good listener, take an active role in the conversation and be aware of the person’s body language. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, when you have hearing loss all of these good communication elements become more difficult.

The fundamental act of listening is very difficult with untreated hearing loss. At first you might just have trouble listening when there are other noises competing with each other, such as at a restaurant. If your hearing loss goes untreated for a prolonged period of time, eventually even conversations around the dinner table at home can be difficult, and as the television volume climbs higher and higher even chatting during commercial breaks is eliminated. You, your friends and your family all become frustrated as communicating becomes more difficult. This frustration can lead to all parties withdrawing from conversations more and more and those formerly strong relationships start to grow frail.

Your ears help make good communication possible which in turn strengthens your most important relationships. Luckily, hearing loss is a condition that can be treated. The first step is to schedule a hearing test with a professional audiologist. Your audiologist will determine the type and severity of your hearing loss and recommend solutions to help you hear better. More importantly, your audiologist becomes a key partner in helping you maintain your hearing health, so you can keep communicating and building good relationships that enrich your life even as you age.