Throughout our history, the perception of youth has always been one of strength, independence, and health – qualities so sought after that they prompted Spanish conquistadors to stumble upon the continents of Central and South America in their quest to find the mythical “Fountain of Youth”. Since these times, we’ve learned that there is no actual fountain, but modern technology has provided many tools to counteract the
negative effects age has on quality of life.
Modern Audiology and hearing care are great examples of how new technology helps stave off the negative effects of aging. It’s widely known that one’s sense of hearing deteriorates over time. For many reasons—age, genetics, exposure to loud sounds, and others—hearing loss is very common in older people. Although modern medicine can’t magically restore one’s sense of hearing to its condition during youth (like the fabled fountain of youth), it has provided many solutions that allow people to hear as well as they did in younger days.
Unfortunately, many older people are often reluctant to even admit to themselves that their hearing is not as effective as it used to be! Indeed, hearing devices are taboo in the eyes of older people; they are considered proof that their age is catching up with their bodies “I’m too young to wear a hearing aid!” or “Hearing devices are for people older than me!” are common responses from patients diagnosed with hearing loss. Ironically, resistance to using the available hearing devices actually keep older people from the desired quality of youthful hearing! They scoff at the need for hearing devices because they perceive them as an outward sign of age, but, in reality, the devices make them behave and interact in a youthful way – through effective hearing!
This dilemma is a matter of perception – while older people avoid hearing aids so they don’t look old, they lead a lifestyle without hearing ability that cries out, “I’m too old to hear!” during daily interactions! Each time an older person asks someone to repeat a statement just spoken clearly, fudges comprehension during a
conversation, nods and smiles at inappropriate times, or uses the TV or radio at a very high volume, the older person is advertising his or her hearing loss and age.
In closing, there’s no way to change our society’s value of youth and independence—these ideals are part of the fabric of our culture. Sadly, there is no magical spring to return an older person to the state of their youth. Aging—and the effects it has on the human body—are a part of life. There are, however, solutions to
getting the most possible out of your body today and for years to come. You just have to look at these solutions, and the results they provide, from the proper perspective!