Why Hearing Aids Will Make You Happier Than Winning the Lottery
Assuming that you have hearing loss, what’s most likely to make you happy?
A) Winning the lottery, or
B) buying a new pair of hearing aids
It might appear clear to you that the answer is A, but research on happiness conveys a quite different story.
To start with, many people do tend to THINK that extraneous circumstances are more likely to make them happy. They routinely cite things like more money, better jobs, a new car, or winning the lottery.
What numerous studies have found, on the other hand, is surprisingly the reverse. The things that people genuinely REPORT making them happier are not external or materialistic—they are mostly innate.
The things that make most people happiest are high self-confidence, strong social skills, healthy relationships, leisure time, volunteering, and humor, as revealed 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 right, but research is not necessarily on your side.
In one commonly cited study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers interviewed several Illinois state lottery winners and contrasted 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 showed that lottery winners were about as happy as both non-winners and the accident victims.
The study concluded that people are likely to have a fixed happiness level. Substantial events like winning the lottery or enduring a debilitating injury cause a transient spike or drop in happiness—but the person’s happiness level in both instances will return to the fixed point.
This supports the “hedonic treadmill” theory, which states that most people maintain about the same levels of happiness throughout life, similar to when you adapt to and increase the speed on the treadmill.
For instance, if you land a job with a larger salary, you more than likely will be temporarily happier. But once your happiness level returns to normal, you’ll just desire a job with even higher income, ad infinitum.
Buying Happiness with Hearing Aids
If you answered that using hearing aids would make you happier, your response is more consistent with the research.
As reported by social psychologist Dr. Dan Gilbert, two decades of research into happiness has revealed that the single most important determiner of happiness is our relationships. He explains 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 upon healthy hearing, hearing aids enhance relationships and a sense of self-confidence in those who use them.
And research tends to give credibility to this view. Numerous studies have confirmed that hearing aid users are pleased with their hearing aid performance, notice a positive change in their overall mood, and achieve improved relationships and social skills.
As a result, wearing hearing aids produces all of the things that have been found to make us happier, while winning the lottery provides 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 drop by the local hearing specialist instead.