Let me start by stating, unequivocally, that treating hearing loss and tinnitus is not elective healthcare. Healthy hearing is medically necessary for your social, emotional, physical, and cognitive health. Untreated hearing loss separates us from others, reduces our initiative to get out, socialize and exercise, increases our risk of depression, stress and anxiety, and may lead to dementia.
Social Health. Most often referred to as our ability to interact, form and maintain meaningful relationships. The majority of empirical research and reports on the impact of hearing loss focus on the social impacts of this debilitating disorder.
Withdrawal from social situations is common in individuals with hearing loss, even in the earliest stage of the disorder. Most patients mention feelings of embarrassment, loneliness, inadequacy, fear of making mistakes in conversations, and feeling like they are not part of the conversation. Below is a quote from one of the most famous and brilliant composers that dates back to the early 1800s. Unfortunately, we hear similar emotions from our patients in 2023.
“…my ears buzz and hum all the time, day, and night. I may tell you that I lead a wretched life. Over the past two years I have avoided almost all social contact because I can hardly say to people 'I am deaf'.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven
Fortunately, the data and real-life everyday experiences of patients affirm that treating hearing loss and tinnitus improves quality of life and contributes enormously to their ‘active aging’. The word “active” is used to describe a person’s involvement with social, physical, economic, spiritual, and civic affairs as they age. We all share the same goal to maintain autonomy and independence as we age, and thus we must rely on preserving the tenants of interdependence (socialization and reliance on family and loved ones) and intergenerational solidarity (maintaining companionship with age-matched peers) to insure active aging.
Physical Health. It does not take a medical degree to understand that physical activity is a requirement of maintaining proper health, especially as we age. But not everybody comprehends that untreated hearing loss results in people being less physically active.
Here is a fascinating statistic. Centenarians--people who live to be 100 years young or more--embody a small percentage of the total U.S. population. In fact, only approximately 1 out of every 10,000 Americans are 100 years or older. This small slice of the population who survive to extreme old age lures the attention of the general public and researchers who attempt to figure out how to beat the odds of environmental and biological hindrances.
Why do some people live such long, fulfilling lives, while others do not? Good question! Your first thought may be ‘perhaps these individuals are genetically unique’. The truth is genetics only play a 25% part in their endurance. Guess what the other 75% is? Lifestyle!
Cognitive Health. Perhaps the easier way to put this is: living to a good age and having a good memory. Like your brain, your ears never sleep. This means your brain is constantly stimulated by the vast neural network from your ears. Until it is not. Then what happens?
Activities which stimulate the mind, i.e., hearing, can slow cognitive decline and may be our best defense against dementia. What starts out as subtle cognitive changes that are seemingly associated with aging, go on to affect an older adult’s day-to-day function. As we age, there are certain expected cognitive declines that we will all experience, i.e., ‘senior moments’. However, with increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia that may be the result of hearing loss, it is important to know the differences of ‘normal aging’, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia.
Early stages of significant cognitive decline (first seen in MCI) include problems with memory, language, thinking, judgement, and visual perception. Fortunately, most people are still ‘with it’ enough to notice these issues and can seek early intervention. Family and close friends may also notice a change. But these changes often are not severe enough to significantly interfere with daily life.
MCI along with hearing loss can increase your risk of later developing dementia caused by Alzheimer’s or other neurological conditions. However, undeniable research is showing that early intervention of hearing loss improves cognitive function, memory, attention and may prevent dementia.
The Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric supports healthy joints, and inflammation support and can help older adults avoid a devastating fall.
PreventingDecline.com offers you American-made Turmeric antioxidant supplements can neutralize free radicals in the body that lead to inflammation. Made from the roots of the Curcuma Longa plant, turmeric is an ancient spice that can turn back the clock by fighting back against the free radical scavengers in your cells. The preventing decline turmeric supplement is designed to support joint health and a healthy inflammation response when we keep our bodies active.
Research has shown that supplementing your diet with turmeric can be a potential approach to prevent cognitive decline by counteracting chronic inflammatory processes. In addition, research has also shown that it can protect your brain from toxins including aluminum which is known to impair memory and spatial learning. Aluminum can enter the body through your gastrointestinal tract and lungs through cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, and some cookware.
Keep in mind that what you buy may not always be pure turmeric. Be sure to do your research, and do not buy turmeric that contains additives such as lead, rye, cassava, or wheat. Only buy pure turmeric. If you are receiving chemotherapy treatments, are on blood thinners, or immunosuppressive drugs, consult with your doctor before taking turmeric supplements.
Add turmeric into your tea (hot or cold) or find curried recipes where turmeric is widely used. We suggest that the next time you replenish your spice rack, include turmeric in your shopping list to help prevent decline and age actively!
The takeaway today should be to prevent social isolation by treating your hearing loss (#1), staying physically active and taking care of your cognitive health. Treating hearing loss is extremely important for mental and physical health, which helps to reduce anxiety, depression, and mood.
The medical treatment of hearing loss and tinnitus is the #1 modifiable factor for preventing dementia.
As we age, failure to spend even $5,000 on the medical treatment of hearing loss and tinnitus can easily create an $8,000 problem (the average cost to treat anxiety and stress), $30,000 (the average cost a family incurs when an older adult falls) or even a $57,000 per-year-problem (the average cost, per year, to manage a loved one with dementia!).
You cannot stop your genetics from causing your hearing loss (and it is not worth getting mad and blaming your parents!). You also cannot go back in time and not attend that loud concert or perhaps take back all those years you spent working in a factory or restaurant, serving in the military, mowing the lawn, or playing in a band. THE DAMAGE IS DONE - and it will only get worse without treatment. All it takes is finding the right hearing healthcare provider to truly “fix” your hearing loss and tinnitus.
Schedule an appointment today with one of our nationwide clinics at – www.excellenceinaudiology.org to insure you live your fullest life and remain socially active.