Of Sound Mind: Mental Health and your Hearing

Feb 04, 2020 in Hearing Care

couple hugging, offering emotional support

Mental health charity, MIND, reports that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year and in England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression in any given week. We speak to Edward Reid, presenter, meditation teacher and mindfulness specialist about the affect mindfullness can have an impact on your overall health and what techniques he recommends to stay healthy.

In terms of your hearing, The British Tinnitus Association estimates that 10% of the UK population experiences tinnitus frequently, and a research study by JAMA suggested that 11.4% of adults with self reported hearing impairment also experience moderate to severe depression.

“Compared with the UK population, the rate of depression in our deafened participants was nearly five times higher, and in their hearing partners, just over four times higher.” (Link 2005)

It’s vital to look after your hearing alongside your mental health. Having healthy ears means you can engage more in social activities, sleep better and live your life to the fullest.

What techniques can you use to look after your health?

close up of holding hands, offering support

There is a growing need for techniques that help us all cope and the good news is that simple changes in lifestyle can lead to improved mental health and wellbeing. Mindfulness is one such practice and there is strong research supporting its usefulness for those suffering from anxiety, depression, or even just daily stress.

Singer, entertainer and Britain’s Got Talent favourite, Edward Reid, took up meditation and mindfulness practice to help cope with his own stress and anxiety. Ed is a qualified Meditation Teacher and has helped thousands through mindfulness coaching and his Happiness and Wellbeing Workshops. Here Ed gives us his views on mindfulness, its power and tips to practice it well.

Why did you get interested in mindfulness?

“Well lots of people told me I should meditate but I told them to stop being silly. 'People like me don’t meditate we medicate - with wine' I used to say. I thought it was for enlightened people something I certainly wasn’t. I tried it a couple of times and didn’t see the point in it until someone showed me how to do it. I loved it. I then learned more about it and felt mindfulness was my time of meditation.”

What does mindfulness mean to you?

“Mindfulness means so much to me as it has brought so much freedom from fearful thoughts that were stealing the joy from my life.”

How does mindfulness affect someone’s mental health?

“Mindfulness teaches us to focus on the present moment. We are usually in the past or away in the future and often when our thoughts are in that place they can be negative. Mindfulness will teach us to focus on the now and more than often the now is a very beautiful place.”

Who can benefit from mindfulness?

“Everyone.”

What is the best way to learn about mindfulness? Are there specific do’s and don’ts?

“I think: get out and go to a class. I find that is like going to the gym, you get inspired by others. If you can afford a 1:1 do that. There are lots of techniques that can be taught. My go to place is Youtube. There are lots of videos there to explain it or even give you a guided mindful meditation. Do - give it a bash. Don’t beat yourself up if you plan to do it and don’t. There is always tomorrow."

What is your favourite mindfulness exercise?

“I do love a mindful shower. When we’re in the shower we are there physically but very rarely there mentally. We are thinking about the day ahead. Instead, focus on the sensation and temperature of the water. Focus on the soap or shower gel, treat yourself to a nice Jo Malone. Then focus on the dry towel against your damp body. It’s amazing. Very sensory and an easy way to get into the moment plus it’s something that we need to do, so why not make it mindful.”

So how can hearing affect your mental health and what can you do about it?

woman holding her ear, concerned about her hearing

Tinnitus is often wrongly described as ‘untreatable’. It is correct to say that tinnitus is incurable, but there are treatments that can make it much easier to live with. While there is no cure for tinnitus, hearing aids, sound therapy and CBT may be prescribed to help individuals cope with the condition and help you live the life to the fullest.

Deafness and hearing impairments have also been connected with mental health problems. Depending on the severity of the hearing loss, hearing aids prescriptions and reaching out to friends and family can really help. Patients have let us know how hearing aids have improved many areas of their life: from relationships, their sense of independence and confidence to do everyday tasks like visiting a busy supermarket, to bigger things like going on holiday with the family.

Looking after your hearing is intrinsically linked to your overall wellbeing. Book a FREE tinnitus consultation today at your local Leightons branch You can book online, call 0800 40 2020 or pop in and speak to the team.

Contributor:

Edward Reid profile photo

Contributor: Edward Reid, Meditation Teacher and Mindfulness specialist and Presenter. www.mredwardreid.com

"Most people will know me as a singer or “The Nursery Rhyme guy” after my appearance on Britain's Got Talent but what a lot of people don't know is that I am also a qualified Meditation teacher having trained at The British School of Meditation and I specialise in Mindfulness."