Hearing Loss And Healthy Aging
Prevention and Treatment Did you know that untreated age related hearing loss has been associated with physical and mental decline?
You spend so much energy and brain power trying to figure out what someone said; you don’t have the resources to ‘think’ about the message. Friends and family are getting tired of talking with you, despite your best efforts to understand what they have said. You become more and more socially isolated and inactive. Television, especially the news, becomes your best friend because you can control the volume, the newscaster is looking directly at “you” and you are listening in the quiet privacy of your home. You gradually stop going out because you get stressed trying to hear in noisy places. But did you know, the more you isolate yourself, the more your thinking ability declines because you are not giving your brain the exercise that comes with the demands of social interaction.
"Two of three adults over 70 years of age have a hearing loss that interferes with communication."
Two of three adults over 70 years of age have a hearing loss that interferes with communication. It is estimated that 3/4 of these people have done nothing about it. Large population research studies, have confirmed that healthy aging depends on keeping socially engaged and active and your ability to hear and communicate is vitally linked to your social activities. Research also shows that unmanaged hearing loss is related to an increased risk of falling and is linked to the timing of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Isolation, injuries from falls and Alzheimer’s Disease are 3 of the top 4 reasons for admission to long term care facilities.
Addressing health issues
Many things can affect your hearing such as a decline of physical hearing structures, ear wax, medical conditions, and infections. It is important to begin by talking to your family doctor about your hearing loss. Your doctor may suggest that you see an audiologist. An audiologist will test your hearing, work with you in finding solutions that are unique to your needs and coach you in finding ways to communicate more effectively in all situations.
"Many things can affect your hearing such as a decline of physical hearing structures, ear wax, medical conditions, and infections."
There are things you can do right now that will help. Let people know you have a hearing problem; ask people to face you and to speak more slowly, clearly and louder without shouting; pay attention to facial expressions or gestures; request a seat in a quiet part of the restaurant, perhaps in a booth; let the person talking know when you do not understand and ask them to reword a sentence and try again.
Remember, optimal hearing involves personal development. Your audiologist can work with you to find the right strategies to get back your social and leisure activities which in turn will assist with improvements in your physical and mental function.