Hearing Loss Weighing you Down? Get a Pet!
We’ve all undoubtedly heard about service animals at some point in our lives. These animals are helpful friends who are companions to those who are hard of seeing and need help when it comes to guidance. In terms of a service animal, usually they are dogs that help their owners to travel around with ease. But therapy animals are something much different, although the two concepts aren’t all that fundamentally unlike. Service animals are usually defined by their ability to provide assistance such as guiding their companions. In addition, they’re not necessarily seen as pets by most. On the other hand, therapy pets are not meant to provide assistance, but simply bring comfort to their buddy.
Consider that an estimated 50 million Americans have been reported to experience hearing loss in at least one ear, if not both. Not to mention, veterans returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan are noticing the residual effects of hearing loss. These numbers are on the rise and studies indicate that experiencing hearing loss is directly tied to depression. If you are one of the many experiencing social isolation because of hearing loss, a therapy pet may be exactly what you need!
Therapy pets were originally thought to be friendly pups, but within recent years the lineup has expanded to include a number of other animals… some more strange than you’d imagine. For example, guinea pigs, llamas and even potbellied pigs have become some of the most common therapy animals! Doesn’t sound like such a bad idea to us, especially since therapy animals provide many benefits for their owner’s physical and mental health like:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Releasing endorphins that will make the owner happy
- Easing the feeling depression and social isolation
- Providing comfort
- Lowering overall anxiety
- And much more!
For those with hearing loss, however, many have suggested that getting a cat is the absolute best therapy pet. As a therapy animal, cats have been proven to promote relaxation and general wellbeing. Not to mention, cats have even been associated with lowering the change of experiencing a heart attach by approximately one-third! Sounds like a great enough reason to us! Not to mention, they’ll definitely make a great cuddle buddy!
[Image courtesy of Catster]