As part of the normal aging process many of us experience changes in our senses, from seeing less to hearing less, or noticing changes in our ability to taste, smell, and touch. A study from the University of Chicago found that tens of millions of Americans have losses in one or more of their senses as they age. This leaves you at a higher risk of falling, developing health problems like social isolation and depression, or having lower activity levels and poor nutrition. But just because you’re getting a bit older is no reason to lose your senses or give up the things you love. There are lots of ways you can save your senses and keep enjoying life no matter your age.
As you age, focusing can become more challenging as your eye’s lenses start to stiffen, and your risk of cataracts increases. You’ll find yourself straining to see unless the light is very bright, and you may even wear reading glasses. To save your sense of sight, make sure you’re exercising regularly to increase blood flow throughout the body. Using eyedrops may help you keep your eyes hydrated, and wearing sunglasses will protect your eyes from the damaging rays from the sun. It’s also a good idea to get yearly vision exams so you can get eye glasses when you notice changes in your vision.
Just as eyesight begins to dim with age, a long life exposed to all the loud noises of work and leisure activities leaves hearing dulled. The delicate hair cells in your inner ear face damage, meaning some sounds in your environment never reach your ear. This usually affects high frequency sounds first, and you’ll notice it’s harder to hear your grandkids talking, or hear the birds singing outside the window. Another natural part of aging is some wear and tear in the brain, meaning some of the neural pathways in the brain that deal with hearing are affected. Even if your ear can hear all the sounds, your brain can’t process the signals.
One of the most important things you can do to save your hearing is to wear ear protection. Whether sanding the deck, mowing the lawn, working on a noisy jobsite, or attending a concert, ear protection will save your senses. Get in the habit of wearing earplugs whenever you’re doing loud activities, and keep an extra pair of foam earplugs in your bag to have them on hand wherever you find yourself. Once you’ve lost your hearing due to exposure to loud noise, you’ll never get it back. Hearing aids help you hear again, but can’t restore the natural hearing you’ve lost. Don’t damage your hearing, but always wear ear protection!
Another way to protect your hearing and your other senses is to live a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy bodyweight and a nutrient rich diet will ensure healthy blood circulation throughout your body, keeping blood sugar levels stable and blood pressure low. This also keeps the cells in your ears and brain healthy, protecting your hearing for years to come.
If you have trouble seeing you have no problem going to the optometrist and getting glasses. Why should hearing loss be any different? If you suffer from hearing loss, the best thing you can do so save your senses is getting hearing aids as soon as possible. When you’re not hearing clearly, the cells in the brain that process the sound you’re missing don’t have anything to do. They’ll soon die, or be recycled to perform some other function. This means that when you do get hearing aids, the cells needed to hear certain frequencies won’t be there, even if the ear is able to send the signals to the brain with the help of the hearing aid. Getting hearing aids when you first notice your hearing loss means that the treatment will be far more effective, and you’ll be able to save your senses, keep your brain active, and slow your hearing loss.
Visit us at Hearing Consultants to find the perfect hearing devices that will save your senses and get you back to hearing all the sounds you’ve been missing.