If you have untreated hearing loss, you might be missing a lot of sounds in your everyday life. You might have difficulty understanding speech, making conversations with your family and friends challenging. You might not be able to hear your favorite music, movies, or TV shows without turning the volume up much higher than you used to. You might not be able to hear the sounds of nature, like the water rushing past in a river or birds singing in the trees. If you are unable to hear the birds, you might be missing out on more than the sweet sound of bird chirps and whistles. New research shows that seeing and hearing birds is good for your mental health—and if you cannot hear birds, you are missing out on those benefits.
The research, which was published in 2022, found that seeing or hearing birds is associated with an improvement in mental wellbeing. The study was conducted by researchers at King’s College London between April 2018 and October 2021 with 1,292 participants. These participants completed a total of 26,856 assessments with the Urban Mind app, which was developed by King’s College London, landscape architects J&L Gibbons, and arts foundation Nomad Projects. While participants were recruited worldwide, the majority were based in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
In the study, participants used the app to answer questions three times a day about whether they could see or hear birds. They were then asked questions about their mental wellbeing, which allowed researchers to establish an association between the two. Researchers were also able to estimate how long this association lasted.
The results show that seeing or hearing birds is associated with improvements in mental wellbeing in both healthy people and those with depression. Researchers estimate that the positive effects of seeing or hearing birds can last for up to eight hours.
Listening to the sounds of nature has long been hypothesized to benefit mental wellbeing. Many people enjoy listening to nature sounds, including the sounds of birds, to help them relax and relieve stress. However, this is the first study to provide scientific evidence of the connection between seeing or hearing birds and mental wellbeing.
This study shows that going outside and seeing or hearing birds is a simple way to improve your mental wellbeing—with the benefits lasting for up to eight hours! Going outside to watch or listen to birds just once a day could potentially bring noticeable mental health benefits. If you are unable to hear the birds when you are outside, you could be missing out on significant mental wellbeing benefits (not to mention beautiful birdsongs!). With treatment, such as wearing hearing aids, you can once again enjoy the sound of birds, along with many other sounds you may be missing out on if you have untreated hearing loss.
To learn more about the association between hearing birds and mental wellbeing, and to set up an appointment with our hearing aid specialist to ensure that you can hear birds when you are outside, we welcome you to contact our office today.