Listen up – hearing is the key to good health
We often take good hearing for granted and just accept that, like our eyesight, it fades over time. However, new studies suggest hearing loss can be linked to major health issues like memory problems and heart disease, so it might be time to listen up and get serious about your ears.
Whether it's the result of too many rock concerts in our youth, genetics or the constant buzz of everyday life, we're all susceptible to hearing loss. The trick is catching it early and doing something about it.
Robert Beiny, the UK and European Audiologist of the Year and Director of the Hearing Healthcare Practice in Hertfordshire, UK, is among the hearing specialists urging people to take their aural health more seriously.
“What's hearing got to with it?" he muses to Cover Media. "Wellness is generally used to mean a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being. It takes more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away. Fitness, exercise and diet all play a part - as does hearing well.
“Changes in hearing occur so slowly that we fail to notice subtle changes in how we enjoy company and interact with workmates. Evidence links these changes with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and memory loss. Our character alters and we can suffer increased anxiety, social isolation, depression and insecurity.”
There are also huge benefits, personally and professionally, in taking care of your hearing. Robert notes that with improving our listening, other aspects such as family relationships and mental health are also boosted.
"With research now confirming people who hear well earn higher salaries and have better employment opportunities, it makes sense to your general well-being to keep your hearing in tune,” he adds.
So maybe it's time to track down a local audiologist and undergo a hearing test just to make sure you're A-OK. As the expert says: “Add hearing to your general health check list along with eye exams, visits to your dentist and routine check-ups with your GP.”
And don't fret about the future if hearing loss already is a problem; technology will be your friend. The days of ugly hearing aids and ear antennas are long gone and those contraptions your grandfather once stuck behind his ear are old school. The help available these days is subtle and largely invisible.