Written by Dr. Dov Bloch & Donna Haupt, PA-C
Tired of your spouse complaining that you’re not listening? Missing out on your favorite TV show’s fast-talking dialogue? Never able to understand what your grandchild is saying? As much as 20 percent of the United States’ population experiences some degree of hearing loss, making it the third most common chronic condition in our nation.
Age-related deterioration of the auditory system is the most common cause of hearing loss. This form of hearing loss occurs gradually over many years as a result of damage to delicate hair cells in the cochlea and other parts of the auditory system. This condition affects approximately 70 percent of individuals over 69 years of age, making it one of the most common conditions impacting seniors.
When left untreated, hearing loss has can lead to the development of other serious conditions, including depression, heightened anxiety and a decline in cognitive function. In fact, there’s a direct correlation between hearing loss and early onset of dementia.
Because hearing loss cannot be cured, it is important to take preventative measures to protect your auditory health…
1. The number one way to protect your ears is to pamper them with noise protection. Stay away from loud machinery. Cup your hands over your ears when there’s a siren going past. Bring along a pair of ear plugs to the next wedding reception you’re invited to. And if you use ear pods to listen to music, turn down the volume.
Some of the most common noise-inducing hearing loss symptoms include:
- Inability to hear high-pitched sounds (like birds singing)
- Muffled or distorted speech
- Ringing or buzzing in the ear (called tinnitus)
2. Stay active and keep a regular fitness routine. In order to maintain a healthy auditory system, it needs to be well oxygenated. The effects of oxygen on our hearing is one of the aspects studied by the researchers at University of Florida. Using two groups of mice, one with access to an exercise wheel and one without, the research team examined the impacts of a sedentary lifestyle on the rodents.
Their study suggests that age-related inflammation results in damage to the cells of the auditory system, a factor which the active group were able to reduce by about 50 percent. The active group also had a much lower rate of auditory damage and, while the sedentary mice experienced hearing loss at a rate of about 20 percent, only 5 percent of the active group had an impairment.
Daily activity such as 30 minutes of walking brings extra blood flow to the tiny vessels that feed the ear. The National Institutes of Health is undertaking a research initiative to explore which molecules released during exercise may help maintain auditory health.
3. Get regular hearing tests. Starting at age 59, it’s important to get a baseline hearing test and annual hearing tests thereafter to detect any changes. If an impairment is found, hearing aids can help protect against the further deterioration of your auditory ability. To evaluate your individual hear loss and needs, schedule an appointment one of our ENT providers or Doctors of Audiology by calling 203-830-4700 or requesting your appointment today.
— Dr. Dov Bloch & Donna Haupt, PA-C
Dr. Dov Bloch specializes in Ear, Nose & Throat conditions, Head & Neck Surgery and Thyroid & Parathyroid Surgery and conditions including thyroid nodules, goiters and more. Appointments are available with Dr. Bloch in Danbury, Norwalk, and Ridgefield, CT.
Donna Haupt, PA-C has over 11 years of experience as an ENT Practitioner as well as 10 years of prior specialty care and internal medicine experience. Donna Haupt accepts adult & pediatric ENT patients at Advanced Specialty Care in Ridgefield, Norwalk, and Danbury, CT.
ADVANCED SPECIALTY CARE
The Otolaryngologists at Advanced Specialty Care treat conditions and disease in adults, infants and children. Schedule a consultation with one of our ENT specialists to discuss your symptoms and see what treatment option is best for you–call (203) 830-4700 or request your appointment at any of our convenient offices in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield, CT.