Healthy Aging and Your Hearing
September is Healthy Aging Month! What a great opportunity to discuss a topic that is a growing focus of our society as the largest generation ages, the Baby Boomer generation. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “healthy aging is the ability of people to live a healthy, safe, and socially inclusive lifestyle.”
Hearing is associated with everything we do every day, yet, hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the United States among older adults. Nearly two-thirds of adults 70 years of age and older have hearing loss. The vast majority of people would benefit from wearing hearing aids, however, only about 20% of those who could benefit actually use them.
A huge factor to healthy aging is early identification of hearing loss and early intervention with hearing aids. A person’s benefit with hearing aids is the highest when hearing loss is detected early on. Check out these reasons why untreated hearing loss is detrimental to a healthy aging plan but how wearing hearing aids will help to achieve healthy aging.
- Cognitive Ability - The risk of dementia and cognitive decline is increased by up to five times greater in people with untreated hearing loss. Wearing hearing aids consistently helps to keep a person’s brain active and decreases the accelerated development of dementia.
- Communication - Hearing loss impacts a person’s ability to communicate with those around him/her including: family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, doctors, and much more. Hearing aids decrease social isolation and help ease speech understandin
- Fall Risk - The risk of falling is three times greater in people with untreated hearing loss. Hearing aids have been shown to decrease that risk and also decrease the risk of hospitalization.
- Quality of Life - People who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic and feel engaged in life. They are also more likely to have a strong social network.
- Tinnitus – Most people with hearing loss also experience tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, hissing, etc.), which can often be an annoyance or impact day-to-day life. Properly fit hearing aids by an Audiologist can help manage tinnitus and reduce its noticeability and functional impact.
With all that said…what is one of the best ways to assure you are on a healthy aging path…have your hearing evaluated by an Audiologist and treat hearing loss as soon as hearing aids are recommended!