Hearing Health Solutions Explains the Connections Between Sound, Emotion, and Hearing loss

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Local audiology practice explains in a recently published article how the brain transforms sound into emotion and the impact of hearing loss on quality of life.

Hearing Health Solutions

The bursts of a fireworks display on a summer night. The tapping of rain drops on a relaxing day at home. Many of the sounds encountered on a daily basis evoke strong emotional reactions—both positive and negative. And while some reactions are universal, others are dependent on the individual.

In a recently published article titled 6 Ways Your Brain Transforms Sound Into Emotion, Hearing Health Solutions summarizes the recent research that helps to explain how individuals react emotionally to sound. Specifically, the article describes six psychological mechanisms by which the brain evokes emotions.

The first mechanism is referred to as the brain-stem reflex, characterized by immediate arousal to any sound that is abrupt or loud. This response is hard-wired into the brain to alert people to potentially dangerous sounds. Similarly, our enjoyment of music is based on how the brain is hard-wired to perceive and structure rhythm, melody, and other musical elements.

Other emotional responses to sound, rather than being hard-wired, are learned responses. Sounds associated with pleasant or depressing memories, for example, retain their emotional power. A song played on an individual’s wedding night might evoke feelings of joy, whereas a song heard during a funeral may evoke the opposite feelings.

Additional mechanisms include the visual imagery associated with sounds, and emotional contagion, whereby people “feel” the emotions of others simply by watching them. For example, when others start to laugh or cry, it’s difficult not to feel similar emotions.

The strong link between sound and emotion is of great significance for those with hearing loss. Because sound has a powerful emotional component, those with hearing loss also lose some of the emotional force associated with certain sounds. For example, music loses some of its potency when certain instruments can’t be heard, and walks in nature lose their full impact when faint sounds, like flowing water or chirping birds, cannot be heard.

According to Hearing Health Solutions, the use of hearing aids not only enhances an individual’s hearing—it also frequently improves an individual’s emotional life as they are once again able to hear the sounds that trigger positive emotional reactions.

About Hearing Health Solutions

Hearing Health Solutions is a full-service audiology practice located in Ohio, with seven locations in Columbus, Delaware, Dublin, Westerville, and London. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and compassionate staff, the practice offers comprehensive services including hearing tests, hearing aid evaluations, custom hearing aid fittings, hearing aid cleanings, rehabilitative counseling, preventive care advice, and service and repair for most hearing aid models.

Carolyn Gigliotti, Au.D.
Hearing Health Solutions
(888) 638-5095

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Carolyn Gigliotti, Au.D.