Keeping an Eye on and an Ear to Good Health

Working with our healthcare providers, most of us probably keep a pretty good eye on key health indicators such as blood pressure and cholesterol, and do our best to manage chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. We may even be eating better and exercising more, knowing that making healthy lifestyle choices are beneficial on a number of levels. Often overlooked, however, is the importance of being evaluated for and taking steps to manage issues related to vision and hearing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that focusing on eye care can enhance health in other ways, saying, “People with vision problems are more likely than those with good vision to have diabetes, poor hearing, heart problems, high blood pressure, lower back pain, and strokes, as well as have increased risks for falls, injury and depression.”

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults.” Their data indicates that “Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.” In addition to negatively impacting social interactions with others, hearing loss can potentially impact safety when conversations are misunderstood or environmental cues are missed.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association recommend an eye assessment every two to four years for individuals between ages 40 and 64, and when they feel vision has changed or something else may be wrong.

For individuals aged 65 and older, they recommend being checked every one or two years. More frequent evaluations are recommended because the risk of developing conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts increases with age. People with high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of eye disease may need more frequent visits because these conditions also increase risks.

Recommendations for hearing evaluations are less clearly defined, but perhaps you should consider testing if you often find yourself asking people to repeat what they’ve said, can’t hear on the telephone, think everyone is mumbling, or experience other frustrations because you can’t hear well.

Official data aside, seeing the sights and hearing the sounds of everyday life as clearly as possible enhances quality of life. At Village at Proprietors Green there is always a lot to see and do.

Just as you manage and discuss other aspects of your health with your personal doctor or primary care provider, you might consider talking with him/her about the best vision and hearing evaluation schedule for you to identify potential issues early and get appropriate treatment for any condition that may already be present.