Now Hear This!
Hearing loss is a common disorder of aging. It affects about 30% of the population by the age of 65, 50% by the age of 75, and twice as many men as women!
Hearing loss that is associated with aging is the result of changes in the inner ear, most often due to the loss of cells that respond to sounds. The death of these irreplaceable “hair cells” is natural, but it is often hastened by noise damage in the environment.
To decrease your risk of hearing loss, The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests you reduce your exposure to loud noise, the greatest contributor to hair cell damage. While the source of the noise doesn’t matter, the intensity and duration of the noise does matter. Even momentary exposure to very loud noises, such as explosions or ambulance sirens, can cause immediate damage. Hearing Test
A practical precaution is to carry a set of foam earplugs to insert if the noise level increases. This might help, for instance, if you find yourself near a construction site. Earplugs are also protective against routine loud noise, such as the vacuum cleaner. Most importantly, if you suspect a hearing problem, your primary care physician can direct you to the proper specialists for diagnosis and treatment.
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