According to the Hearing Health Foundation, “Nearly 25% of those aged 65-74, and half of those older than 75, have disabling hearing loss. Among adults ages 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30%) has ever used them.”
Your ears allow you to hear a range of sounds by transmitting sound energy into electrical signals that your brain interprets. Your ears also play a vital role in maintaining balance. Taking care of your ears protects your hearing health and can even help prevent hearing loss.
With assisted living and memory care communities throughout Georgia, Oaks Senior Living understands the significance that ear and hearing health has on the overall wellness of older adults. We want to help you better understand the vital role that your ears play in your health and how to prevent hearing loss.
How Hearing Loss Can Impact Your Life
Hearing loss is more than an inconvenience; it can lead to other dangers and health concerns if not prevented or treated properly.
Difficulty Connecting with Others
Socialization and human connection are essential for maintaining mental and physical health. When an individual is experiencing hearing loss, large groups or settings with excessive background noise can make it difficult to hear or understand conversations happening around them.
To counteract this frustration, individuals may refrain from participating or attending social opportunities. This type of self-isolation can negatively impact self-confidence and mental health.
If you or someone you know is dealing with a hearing impairment, we encourage you to read our blog that shares tips to promote successful communication!
Missing Important Information or Not Hearing Sounds Around You
Imagine yourself in a doctor’s office. They tell you specific instructions on how to care for an existing medical condition, but you either mishear or do not understand what they are explaining to you. Instead of asking your doctor to repeat themselves (maybe out of embarrassment or self-reliance), you nod along and pretend you heard them. Now you’re in a situation where you don’t fully know how to handle your condition, which can lead to you doing something that could adversely affect your health.
Picture another scenario: you are walking down the sidewalk. Traffic is passing you on the road, and construction sounds can be heard in the distance, but you do not hear the man on a bicycle telling you he is coming up behind you. You stop abruptly and turn into his path of travel.
Taking proper care of your hearing health can help you to avoid both of these circumstances. By understanding your hearing ability and ear health, you are able to counteract the symptoms that come with hearing loss.
Because your ears are an essential part of your balance, taking care of your ear and hearing health can help to prevent unwanted falls. The Pacific Neuroscience Institute states, “the inner ear is composed of two parts: the cochlea for hearing and the vestibular system for balance.” When the inner ear vestibular system is affected, this can decrease your sense of balance and lead to falls that are otherwise preventable.
How to Prevent Hearing Loss & Promote Ear Health
Keep the Volume Down
Prolonged exposure to loud noises can lead to hearing loss. Many experts suggest following the 60/60 rule – listening at 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.
Wear Ear Protection
When loud noises cannot be avoided, wear ear protection such as earplugs or (if necessary) noise-canceling headphones. This will dampen the noise and protect your ears from harmful exposure.
Don’t Wait to See the Doctor
If you suspect that you are experiencing hearing loss, do not wait to visit the doctor and get your hearing checked. Once damage is done to the ear, it cannot be reversed; however, further damage can be prevented. “Generally, people 60 and older should have a baseline hearing test and get rechecked every few years (healthyhearing.com).”
At Oaks Senior Living, we provide person-centered care that promotes the overall health and wellness of the residents in our communities. For more information on the services we offer or our senior living communities in Georgia, we invite you to contact a member of the Oaks Senior Living team today.