Whether you’re getting older yourself, or have aging loved ones, you likely know that some less-than-desirable side effects go hand in hand with advanced age. These include impaired mobility, increased illnesses, and outward changes such as wrinkles and gray hair. One of the most common but hard-to-admit changes is hearing loss. Howard Gleckman, a contributor at Forbes, recently outlined some of the dangers that can result from not properly confronting and treating hearing loss as we get older.
People who don’t hear well tend to isolate themselves from others because they feel they can’t actively participate in conversations. At a time in life when personal relationships and support are needed more than ever due to other age-related limitations, older folks with hearing loss often opt to stay at home, secluded from others. This can also contribute to cognitive decline and impaired mobility.
Hearing well helps keep us safe in many situations. This includes hearing warning signals, such as a honking horn, as well as instructions and verbal warnings. Consequently, an older person with untreated hearing loss might miss important medical instructions from his doctor, or fail to promptly respond to a fire alarm.
While it’s normal for most of us to have some cognitive changes as we age, such as memory loss, impaired hearing can contribute to a more rapid decline. Gleckman referenced a 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which showed a strong link between hearing loss and cognitive disorders such as dementia.
How to confront hearing loss
Hearing loss is evident in about one-third of all Americans between ages 64 and 75. Gleckman offered this advice to older adults:
- Acknowledge hearing loss – Instead of denying it, simply own up to the fact. Accept that your hearing is not as good as it once was. And, instead of just living with it, tell your doctor what hearing difficulties you are having.
- Research technology – Hearing aid technology has improved greatly in the last few decades and there are many options to choose from. Get expert help from a hearing professional to see what works best for you.
- Plan ahead – Hearing devices can be expensive so do your research on financing options. Also check to see whether or not your insurance plan covers hearing testing and hearing aids.
Growing old presents enough challenges all on its own. Why let hearing loss create more? Take control of your health and your future by getting a hearing test and treating hearing changes early so you can enjoy a better quality of life as you age.
Read the full article at: https://www.forbes.com