Protecting Your Hearing as You Age

May 11, 2024

The wind whistling through the trees. A cat purring. A grandchild’s laughter. Your hearing allows you to experience wonderful sounds – as well as sounds that keep you safe, like the cars behind you as you’re on a walk or an alarm buzzing.

However, as we age, many people experience a degree of hearing loss. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that an estimated 65% of adults age 71 and older have at least some degree of hearing loss.

If your hearing becomes damaged, it’s usually not possible to reverse it, so it’s especially important to protect your hearing. Consider these suggestions:

Cover Your Ears!

One of the best ways to prevent hearing loss is to avoid exposure to loud noises. This can mean wearing earplugs if attending a loud concert or using loud lawn equipment. It also means avoiding turning up the volume on your favorite tune or TV show, especially if you’re listening through headphones. If you can’t hear the music or program well at natural volume, try listening to it in a quieter space (with no other background noise) or through noise-canceling headphones. If you find you still cannot hear well…

Get a Hearing Test

If it’s always hard to hear others in conversations or on the TV, or if you experience a constant ringing in your ears, consult a doctor or audiologist about a hearing test. Be sure to mention if others in your family have had hearing loss, so the doctor can monitor your hearing. And talk to your doctor about whether a hearing aid could help you. JAMA reports that only 29% of people with hearing loss actually wear hearing aids.

Don’t Smoke

This is good advice for overall health as well as for healthy hearing. According the website, people who smoke have a 70% greater chance of developing hearing loss, because smoking can cause damage or blockage to the ear’s eustachian tube.

By taking precautions and making a hearing test part of your overall wellness plan, you can protect your hearing as you age – to make sure you keep hearing the sounds that make you smile.

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