Why Hearing Aids Make You Happier Than Winning the Lottery

Assuming that you have hearing loss, what’s more likely to make you happy?

A) Winning the lottery, or

B) buying a new set of hearing aids

It might sound clear to you that the answer is A, but research on happiness tells a quite different story.

First of all, people do tend to THINK that extraneous conditions are most likely to make them happy. They frequently mention things like more wealth, better jobs, a brand new car, or winning the lottery.

What researchers have found, however, is surprisingly the reverse. The things that people actually REPORT making them happier are not external or materialistic—they are mostly innate.

The things that make most people happiest are high self-worth, strong social skills, healthy relationships, leisure time, volunteering, and humor, as shown in the Stanford University video We Don’t Know What Makes Us Happy (But We Think We Do).

WINNING THE LOTTERY AND THE HEDONIC TREADMILL

If you answered that winning the lottery would make you happier, you might be correct, but research is not necessarily in your favor.

In one commonly cited study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers surveyed several Illinois state lottery winners and compared them with both non-winners and with accident victims that were left paraplegic or quadriplegic.

The interview questions aimed at comparing happiness levels, and the results demonstrated that lottery winners were about as happy as both non-winners and the accident victims.

The study concluded that people tend to have a fixed happiness level. Major events like winning the lottery or enduring a debilitating trauma cause a temporary spike or drop in happiness—but the individual’s happiness level in both instances will return to the fixed point.

This is compatible with the “hedonic treadmill” theory, which claims that most people maintain approximately the same levels of happiness throughout life, similar to when you adapt to and increase the speed on the treadmill.

For example, if you secure a job with a higher salary, you in all likelihood will be temporarily happier. But once your happiness level reverts to normal, you’ll just desire a job with even higher income, ad infinitum.

BUYING HAPPINESS WITH HEARING AIDS

If you answered that wearing hearing aids would make you happier, your response is more consistent with the research.

As indicated by social psychologist Dr. Dan Gilbert, two decades of research into happiness has uncovered that the single most important determinant of happiness is our relationships. He points out that our brains have evolved so that we can be social, and that “friendless people are not happy.”

Which is fantastic news for hearing aid users.

Because the foundation of any healthy relationship is communication, and communication is contingent on healthy hearing, hearing aids enhance relationships and a sense of confidence in those who use them.

And research tends to support this view. Numerous studies have confirmed that hearing aid users are satisfied with their hearing aid performance, notice a positive change in their general mood, and develop improved relationships and social skills.

As a result, wearing hearing aids produces all of the things that tend to make us happier, while winning the lottery gives us more money, which at best will only make us temporarily happier. So the next time you venture out to buy lottery tickets, you may want to stop by the local hearing specialistinstead.

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