Does a song with good memories associated with it brighten your day when you hear it? Does a call from a family member or an old friend you haven’t heard from in a while lift your spirits? Does a certain smell or sound have a happy memory associated with it? Studies have shown smells and sounds trigger a chemical reaction in your brain and give you a mood boost. If you are experiencing hearing loss, it’s something else you are missing out on. Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center has been helping area residents hear better for more than four decades – give us a chance to help you!
How Dopamine works
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in several areas of the brain. It is released by the hypothalamus and used as a hormone by the body. Dopamine is linked to the brain’s system of motivation and reward. It helps regulate mood, sleep, behavior and cognitive processing. Studies show it also stimulates the heart, circulation and metabolism.
So why is dopamine important for hearing? We “hear” with our ears, but we interpret those sounds with our brain. The auditory nerve transmits the sounds from the cochlea in the ear to the brain’s auditory center. When any part of this pathway is damaged, you develop hearing loss. French scientists studying the effect of dopamine on the auditory nerve determined it is essential to maintaining the health of auditory nerve neurons and how they respond to sound stimulation.
Humans are social by nature and they stay in touch with the world and others by creating connections through communication. Hearing helps facilitate connections. We call friends and loved ones; we listen to music when we want to relax or want a mood boost – or just dance! Studies show listening to music is an important mood regulator. Researchers from McGill University in Canada monitored “the brains of eight 19-24-year olds as they listened to music they selected” and found that “dopamine levels increased six to nine percent.”
The study shows how low dopamine levels were connected to fatigue, mood swings, and lack of motivation. Several studies have shown that our access to sound we recognize, love and link to good memories plays in integral role in improving our mood, in part because of a hike in the level of dopamine in our systems.
Untreated hearing loss and your mood
Research indicates the psychological effects of untreated hearing loss for both children and adults can include increased outbursts of anger, low self-confidence, frustration, embarrassment and depression. Adults may experience periods of sadness and almost a sense of grieving as their ability to hear diminishes. They will stop putting themselves in social situations where they must struggle with hearing.
And the change in mood with hearing loss doesn’t just affect the person who has the loss. A partner not wanting to cause stress on someone in their relationship will start dropping out of social activities, so as to not subject their significant other to an uncomfortable situation. This may be done as a show of support, but it just serves to further isolate the couple. Hearing loss with one partner will also lead to a decrease in the day-to-day intimate chatter and even watching television can become a source of conflict over the volume. The pair becomes increasingly isolated from social circles that helped them enjoy life. No matter how supportive, this will eventually lead to frustration and resentment!
A new study from the University of Gothenburg looked at how hearing loss can affect a person’s personality and mood. Researchers followed 400 people between 80 and 98 for six years. They found most became less outgoing and their mood suffered.
Get a hearing evaluation
There is no time like the present to call Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center for a free hearing evaluation. And if you do need hearing aids, our team can help by fitting you for the best pair to meet your needs. With better hearing, you may begin to experience that dopamine and mood boost! New hearing aid technology lets you stream music wirelessly through your portable music devices straight to your hearing aids. Now there’s some straight-up dopamine potential! Enjoy life to the fullest through healthy, hearing. You deserve to be in a good mood!