Each issue, WebMD the Magazine's "Health Highlights" focuses on a national health theme for the month with expert tips, reader comments, and eye-catching factoids. September is Healthy Aging month – follow these tips to stay at your peak!
1. Get moving
Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body and brain.
2. Stay social
Take a class, volunteer, play games, see old friends, and make new ones.
3. Bulk up
Eat beans and other high-fiber foods for digestive and heart health...
At family gatherings, my relatives got so tired of repeating themselves that they left Grandma out of conversations. Even as a kid, I realized how isolated she must have felt due to her severe hearing loss.
My grandmother never got a hearing aid because she worried that wearing a huge piece of equipment behind her ear would alert the whole world to her hearing loss. Anyone who shares the same fear today should know this:
Times have changed. These aren't your grandma's hearing aids.
"I like to say that the hearing loss is more visible to others than the hearing aid," says Pam Mason, director of audiology professional practices at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). "Hearing aids today are behind the ear, very small, with a tiny wire that goes down into your ear canal. They truly are invisible."
Hearing aids are not the only hearing loss treatments available. There are other options, including middle ear implants and cochlear implants. But before you can get a hearing aid or any other hearing device, you need to first find out what's causing your hearing loss.
Step 1: Get Your Hearing Evaluated
The time to see a specialist is as soon as you start experiencing signs of hearing loss:
You're turning up the TV or radio volume louder than usual
You have ringing in your ears
You have trouble distinguishing conversations from background noise
Your family and friends have to repeat themselves
You have difficulty hearing on the telephone
You notice a difference between the right and left ear
The hearing evaluation and treatment typically involve a team of specialists that includes an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor, also called an otolaryngologist, and an audiologist.
"The first thing is to do a complete evaluation of the patient from a head and neck standpoint and understand the nature of the hearing loss," explains Anand K. Devaiah, MD, FACS, associate professor in the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Boston University School of Medicine.