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posted: 6/24/2013 6:00 AM

Your health: Advances in hearing aids

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  • Take care of your hearing early in life so you still have it as you age.

    Take care of your hearing early in life so you still have it as you age.


Say what?

Seeing is believing, but hearing is belonging. It is joining in a conversation. It is sharing a joke, listening to a child's excited retelling of a story, going to a play with friends, or enjoying a romantic dinner with your spouse.

Losing the ability to hear crisply and clearly can be isolating and frustrating. It can take away daily pleasures and can even threaten your independence, says Harvard Medical School.

Age-related hearing loss affects one in three of us by age 65. That shouldn't be surprising. We've punished our ears with a lifetime of noise -- from lawn mowers and hair dryers to car horns and loud music.

The good news is you don't have to suffer the silence. You can enjoy better hearing. Today, new hearing aids -- some as small as a jelly bean -- are producing greater amplification with less distortion. Some can be worn around the clock, others have wireless capability. Check with your doctor on all the options available to you.

Memory boosters

As you've gotten older, have you noticed that you often find yourself marching around the house in a huff, searching for misplaced car keys or eyeglasses, or you just cannot remember the name of that new neighbor you met when walking the dog? It's frustrating but not inevitable -- and there are things you can do to help keep your memory sharp, according to Harvard Medical School.

"Most people get a little more forgetful with aging, but there are some simple things you can do to prevent memory slips and help your brain to learn and remember better," said Dr. Anne Fabiny, chief of geriatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Here are some tips from Fabiny:

• Follow routines, such as leaving your car keys, glasses and cellphone in the same place every day so that finding them becomes a "no brainer."

• Slow down and pay attention to what you are doing to give your brain's memory systems enough time to create an enduring memory.

• Avoid distracting or noisy environments and multi-tasking -- the major memory busters in today's fast-paced society.

• Get enough sleep, reduce stress and check with your doctor to see if any of your medications affect memory -- all potential memory spoilers.

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