Everybody wants to stay youthful for as long as they can. From wrinkle creams to Botox to special diets to spin class, we spend a great number of hours each day doing what we can to slow the steady march of aging. Still, with that amount of time and effort, we have a tendency to neglect doing one easy thing that may really work: safeguarding our ears.
Hearing loss is often one of those “signs of aging” that we tend to think of as inevitable. But it’s not that simple. By protecting your ears (and treating them with a bit of kindness on the way), you can help prevent damage and keep your hearing in great shape. And as the years go on, great hearing can have significant anti-aging advantages.
Aging And Hearing
The actual passage of time is not normally what we are making reference to when we talk about aging. Rather, “aging” usually describes the appearance of certain physical, mental, or emotional attributes that we associate with getting older. A perfect example of this is joint pain. When your knees begin to bother you, you might relate that with “growing old”. But it’s not age by itself that leads to the issue (your everyday 5-mile run may have something to do with it, too).
Many types of hearing loss are in this category. As you get older, damage builds up. And in most situations, it’s the accumulation of damage that leads to the actual hearing deterioration. And that’s when the problems can start to snowball. Untreated hearing loss has been associated with several other signs of aging:
- Studies have shown a strong connection between untreated hearing loss, anxiety, and depression.
- When hearing problems are undetected and neglected they can often accelerate the onset of other mental health problems, including dementia.
- Occasionally, problems such as insomnia and loss of memory, can be triggered by the mental strain of attempting to hear. And that can make you feel like you’re getting old in a particularly intense way.
- Self isolation from family and friends can be the consequence of neglected hearing loss.
So How do I Fight Age-Related Hearing Loss?
When you battle the “signs of aging” in your ears, you’re really placing a focus on controlling damage. And it’s fortunate that we can achieve that in a number of ways. For example, you can:
- Raise your awareness. It isn’t just the painfully loud noises that can cause damage. Your ears can also be injured by moderate noise if you are exposed to it for long time periods.
- If you happen to work in a relatively noisy environment, wear hearing protection. Modern ear muffs have incredible technology that can allow you to hear voices with clarity while filtering out loud, damaging environmental sounds.
- As much as you can, avoid loud noises. And when you can’t stay away from high volume locations, use hearing protection. So make sure you wear earplugs when you go to that rock concert.
All of these steps will help safeguard your ears. But there’s one more thing you can do to keep your ears in fighting condition: come see us for a hearing exam. Making sure you get hearing tests regularly can help you catch hearing loss before it’s even noticeable. You should still get a screening even if your hearing is normal so that you can have a standard to compare against in the future.
Keep Your Ears Healthy With Hearing Aids
The world we live in can be noisy. Your ability to avoid damage is essential, but you may ultimately notice some hearing loss even with your best efforts. If that’s the case, it’s vital that you seek help as quickly as you can. A good pair of hearing aids can help counter some of the so-called age-related concerns related to hearing impairments.
Hearing aids can help your ears function more youthfully, sort of like a facelift for your ears. And that can help keep depression, dementia, and other problems from increasing. This analogy only goes so far since a facelift is cosmetic and hearing aids are necessary. Wrinkle creams could help you look younger. But your best choice, if want to feel younger, is to treat your hearing loss and protect your ears.