Thursday, September 17, 2009

What Did You Say?

Having to ask people to repeat themselves is all too common as we age. Just how important is your hearing anyway? Have you given this much thought? Of the senses that tend to lessen with time, I believe hearing is the most essential. While loss of vision separates us from the world around us, loss of hearing separates us from other people. Connecting with others is what keeps our minds young and active. The ability to hear also allows us to appreciate music, savor the sounds of nature and enjoy the delighted laughter of grandchildren.

Preserve What You Have

Preserving your hearing is not difficult. Plan to use an appropriate level of protection during noisy tasks. Outdoor equipment such as lawn mowers, weed-eaters, leaf or snow blowers, and power tools instantly come to mind as creating dangerously high levels of noise. Indoor equipment such as vacuum cleaners or carpet cleaners, and some food processors or other small appliances may also create enough noise to damage hearing.

To prevent hearing loss, many types of inexpensive earplugs and earmuffs are readily available. Pay attention to the levels of noise to which you are exposed. If you have any doubt whatsoever on whether a certain amount of noise might be a problem, at the very minimum, wear ear plugs.

Hearing Aids

While permanent hearing loss cannot be reversed, there is a lot that can be done to amplify or enhance sound that would otherwise be inaudible. Available in a variety of sizes and styles, hearing aids can significantly help most people who suffer from hearing loss. Simple amplification devices available at local retail stores or online may be adequate for some people with minimal hearing loss. High-tech devices, fitted and tuned by an audiologist, are usually necessary for more significant hearing problems. See the Mayo Clinic website for detailed information.

Staying Connected

Do what you can to protect your hearing and address any deficiencies. Take the necessary steps to preserve your current hearing, especially if you’ve already suffered some loss. Enhance your hearing, if needed, so that you can easily take part in the conversations happening around you. Staying connected with others is key to staying young and keeping your mind active!

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