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It’s no secret that we are living longer than we used to. This is an undeniably good thing, but we all hope to spend our later years in good health so that we can continue to enjoy life to the fullest. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to look after our bodies the best we can.
One often overlooked aspect of living a healthy life is taking care of our hearing. By doing so, we are also safeguarding our mental and emotional health. For instance, several recent studies have discovered a connection between hearing loss and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It was found that responding proactively to hearing loss could reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s by 75 percent! People with hearing loss are also less likely to see their family and friends, which becomes especially important as we enter our later years.
A surprisingly large amount of hearing loss isn’t due to old age at all, but is noise-induced – that is through repeated exposure to loud sounds. So, you shouldn’t resign yourself to thinking that hearing loss is an inevitable part of the passage of time. Here are some tips to help you look after your hearing as you enter your later years.
1. Use earplugs around loud noises
Ideally, you should avoid being in any noisy environment. However, that isn’t very realistic. There are plenty of fun things that take place in noisy places, like concerts, sports events and political rallies to name a few. Generally speaking though, noise is loud enough to damage your hearing if you have to talk louder to communicate with other people, and you find it difficult to hear what other people are saying next to you because of the noise.
Noise levels are measured in decibels. The louder the sound, the less you can be exposed to it before hearing damage occurs. If you are spending an extended period of time in loud places, it pays to wear hearing protection. This is a growing problem – about 15 percent of Americans have developed noise-induced hearing loss from their job or their choice of leisure activities. Earplugs come in a variety of materials and price ranges, and you can get specialty models to suit the activity that you are engaged in. Many come in handy keychain containers so you can take them with you wherever you go.
2. Turn the volume down
Do you listen to podcasts and music using earphones? You might be endangering your hearing on a regular basis. The World Health Organization estimates that one in every seven people on this planet are at risk of hearing loss from unsafe levels of volume on their earphones.
The WHO recommends following the 60/60 rule: You should listen with your headphones at under 60% of your max volume, for a maximum of 60 minutes a day. The most damaging type could be earbuds as they feed sound directly into your ear, as opposed to headphones which disperse the sound a little more. Many smartphones today come with an option to automatically limit the volume on your phone to a certain percentage of the maximum volume. This can help you if you absent-mindedly max out your volume controls on a regular basis.
To go one step further, try noise cancelling headphones. They use special frequencies to mask sounds around you which makes you less likely to crank up the volume when you want to drown out the outside world.
3. Get regular check-ups
The best thing to do as soon as you can is to get your hearing checked regularly by a trained hearing health professional. This is because hearing loss develops slowly and needs to be tracked so that appropriate action can be taken in the future. It’s important to act sooner rather than later as untreated hearing loss has been linked to a slew of health conditions like depression, dementia and heart disease. Generally speaking, you should get your hearing tested annually once you pass the age of 60.
Experience better hearing with Exceptional Hearing Care
As we get older, we experience an increasing number of major life changes. How we respond to these challenges is important for staying healthy. The earlier you take charge of your hearing loss, the earlier you can focus on living your life to the fullest. The first step to better hearing is contacting Exceptional Hearing Care to schedule a hearing exam. Get in touch today!