Welcome to Healthy Aging Month—a time to celebrate the positive aspects of growing older. Some of the most common benefits of aging, according to Columbia University Irving Medical Center, include greater acceptance of ourselves and others, wisdom from life experiences, and a stronger drive to connect with others.
What are some positives of aging that speak to you?
If you’re having a little trouble getting your list together, don’t despair: Healthy Aging Month was created as an opportunity to choose happiness for your future by taking active steps to maintain your physical and mental well-being. And where to begin isn’t as daunting as you may think.
There is one key decision you can make that significantly supports your overall wellness: Get your hearing tested regularly and treat any hearing loss you may have.
Better hearing reinforces better aging for many reasons:
1. Better hearing helps you stay social
How important is staying social as we age? Very. The National Institute on Aging says research has linked social isolation and loneliness to high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, cognitive decline, and other health issues.
Hearing clearly through hearing aids is your biggest ally for staying connected to others. It allows you to continue participating in conversations, making plans with others, going to restaurants or family gatherings, and so on.
And when you consider the fact that those who enjoy social relationships are more likely to live longer—you really can’t go wrong.
2. Better hearing helps keep your mind sharp
Learning new skills, pursuing a hobby, and maintaining social connections are just some of the ways you can keep your brain perceptive and enjoy life as you grow older. But when you have hearing loss, your brain spends too much energy trying to process what it’s hearing, leaving it less energy to spend on thinking and memory—which can contribute to dementia.
Did you know hearing loss is actually the single largest modifiable risk factor for dementia, according to the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care? Even better news? Hearing loss is both manageable and modifiable through treatment like hearing aids.
3. Better hearing helps you maintain physical activities
It’s no secret that physical activity—from exercising to gardening—can greatly benefit us as we age. It not only can prevent or delay potential health problems, but also help strengthen muscles so we can maintain our activities autonomously.
Moreover, research has shown that better hearing makes us two times less likely to experience accidental injuries and three times less likely to have a history of falling than those with hearing loss.
Another plus: Starkey's latest hearing aids, Genesis AI, can help keep you active by serving as your own personal fitness trackers. By connecting them with the My Starkey app, you can do things like count your steps, monitor exercise and engagement, set goals, and more.
4. Better hearing helps keep you alert and independent
Hearing well plays a big part in helping us feel confident and safe while we’re out and about (by ourselves or with others)—a huge win for quality of life as we get older. First, better hearing opens your spatial awareness, so you can distinguish and react to audible cues (like car horns and smoke alarms) that warn of safety hazards.
Secondly, treating hearing loss through hearing aids allows you to feel less reliant on others to “translate” or clarify what you’ve heard—what’s not to enjoy about that?
5. Better hearing helps increase joyfulness
Nothing colors life like sound. It makes the big moments feel bigger—from your grandchild’s first (and maybe only) line in the school play, to their name being called from the graduation stage. It gives you the gift of simply being, in even those smaller instances of birds chirping or waves lapping around you. You don’t need to work hard to “achieve” happiness as you age, because with better hearing, it’s all around you.
Bottom line: Choosing to treat your hearing loss is choosing health—and happiness—for your future years.
Getting your hearing tested is easy
So during this Healthy Aging Month, give yourself the future you deserve by getting your hearing evaluated by a licensed hearing care professional. (Experts recommend doing this every three years once you’re 50 anyway, so think of it like a routine physical or eye exam.)
Hearing tests painless and often free. And if it turns out you do have hearing loss, that same hearing care professional can assess it, measure it, and consult with you about your options.
Simply type your zip code in here to find a licensed hearing care professional near you. And here's to a happy Healthy Aging Month!
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