Treating hearing loss helps stave off loss of independence.

What is your biggest fear about aging?  A survey was commissioned by the drug company Pfizer in conjunction with about a dozen health advocacy organizations to help encourage dialogue about aging.  The survey also aimed to shed light on people’s fears. Surprisingly, only 7% over 65 said their biggest fear was dying.  A whopping 64% said they were most afraid of losing independence or living in pain.  In addition to that little tidbit they also found that although 51% of those 18 to 65 would accept having a parent live with them, only 25% over 65 would want to live with a younger relative if unable to care for themselves. Translation, seniors do not want to become a burden to their family.

Did you know that treating hearing loss can help stave off some of the leading contributors to loss of independence? It is true!

Falls – wearing hearing aids improves your balance by improving your ability to localize sounds and provides your brain with more clues about where your body is in space. The inner ear is comprised of the cochlea (hearing organ) and the vestibular system (balance organ).  They are like Siamese twins, sharing the same fluid system.  That is how important they are to each other.

Loss of Drivers Licence – Here in Ontario, drivers 80 years and older must renew their license and continue to do so every two years. They complete a vision test, a written test and sit in on a group education session. They may also be required to take a road test. One would be able to benefit a lot more from that information session (aka let’s go over the questions that are going to be on the written test) when they can hear the instructor.

Acute Illness – A study, conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated that 99,628 hospitalizations every year are linked to adverse drug events such as allergic reactions and unintentional overdoses. Nearly half, or 48.1%, of those hospitalized were adults 80 years old or older. It is vitally important that you hear and correctly follow the instructions for prescription drug use.

Mental Acuity – Leaving hearing loss untreated increases your risk of developing dementia. Untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation, anxiety and depression all of which contribute to cognitive decline.  Effectively communicating with physicians, financial institutions and family also translates to living longer in your home.

Don’t be afraid of hearing aids. They provide so much benefit, not the least of which is helping to maintain health and healthy relationships.