Two women enjoying themselves in nature and having a conversation, while being able to understand each other

Understanding why hearing is important

Grandmother wearing Philips HearLink and baking cookies with her grandchild

Why is hearing important?

Hearing lets us communicate with others and socialize with our loved ones. Our hearing gives information about what is happening around us and hearing can even alert us to danger. Hearing helps us relax while listening to music or enjoying the sounds of nature. 

How hearing is a unique sense

  • Husband and wife are hiking in the forest and enjoying the sound of nature helping them to relax

    Keeping your brain healthy

    Researchers are constantly increasing our knowledge of why hearing is important. We now know that hearing plays a vital part in brain health because it helps people to remain active and engaged. By keeping the brain active, hearing has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

  • Your sense of hearing is always active, even when we are sleeping. The brain just ignores most incoming sounds

    Always on and alert

    Our hearing never turns off! Our sense of hearing is always active, even when we’re asleep. That’s why we can be woken up by an alarm or even a gentle voice. In this way, it is a very useful sense for warning us about danger. This highlights the importance of hearing to our ancient ancestors.

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    Connecting us deeply

    Because hearing is critical for connecting with others, some people believe hearing is our most important sense. Perhaps the most moving words about why hearing is important are a quote from the deaf and blind activist and educator Helen Keller. She famously said: “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.”

How does hearing keep you healthy?

The importance of hearing to our health is fundamental. It is one of our most critical senses for connecting to people and interacting with the world. Because of this, it helps us socialize with our loved ones and friends. Hearing also plays an important role in meeting new people and pursuing healthy activities and hobbies – ones that keep us physically fit and socially active.

In this way, the importance of hearing is considerable, because it is the foundation of many different aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

Even milder forms of hearing loss can significantly affect people’s daily lives if they are left untreated. By ensuring we can hear well, we are more socially active, which reduces social isolation and the risk of depression. Moreover, hearing keeps our brains active, which has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia.

Man sitting on a couch checking his hearing with the online hearing test

Take an online hearing test

Would you like to learn more about your hearing and get an indication of whether you might have hearing loss?
With our free online test for hearing loss, you can get a good idea of how well you hear in just five minutes.

What is hearing and how does it work?

Hearing is an important human sense for communicating and connecting with others. Our ears pick up the sounds around us, translate them into nerve signals and transmit them to the brain. This is how we can recognize and understand many sounds like speech, music and noise. For this process to happen, every part of the ear must be working properly. 

Anatomy of the ear

The human ear has three main parts: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.

  • The visible part of the external ear collects sound and directs it into the external auditory canal to the eardrum

    Outer ear

    The visible part of the external ear collects sound and directs it into the external auditory canal towards the eardrum.
  • In the middle ear, the eardrum is connected to the ossicles which amplify and transmit the vibrations to the inner ear

    Middle ear

    In the middle ear, the eardrum is connected to the ossicles which amplify and transmit the vibrations to the inner ear.
  • The inner ear has two parts, one is the cochlea which converts the sound vibrations into electrical impulses

    Inner ear

    The inner ear has two parts, the cochlea which converts sound vibrations into electrical impulses and the vestibular system which maintains our balance.
Your sense of hearing is always active, even when we are sleeping. The brain just ignores most incoming sounds

4 amazing facts about our hearing

  • The cochlea in the inner ear has the circumference of a pencil eraser.
  • The ossicles are three bones, the hammer, anvil and stirrup. They are the smallest bones in the human body. The stirrup is approximatively 2-3 mm long.
  • Our sense of hearing is always active, even when we sleep. The brain just ignores most incoming sounds. That’s why we can be woken up by an alarm or even by a gentle voice.
  • The inner ear contains your balance organs that send signals to your brain about your movement.
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Ever wondered what hearing loss might sound like?

Our hearing loss simulator lets you experience different sounds with different degrees of high frequency hearing loss. High frequency hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss.

A man at a consultation at a hearing care specialist or an audiologist

Contact a hearing care specialist

We can help you find your closest hearing care specialist who can help if you want to know more about why hearing is important.

They can also test your hearing and recommend the correct treatment if you have hearing loss.

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