Women’s Hearing, Health and Well-being
Media has put needed emphasis upon women’s health and well-being recently. The American Heart Association Go Red for Women and the Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty have discussed the importance of optimal cardiac health for women and freedom from anxiety about their appearances.
However, hearing impairment and its impact on women’s health and self-esteem has gone largely unnoticed.
What does women’s hearing health have to do with self-esteem?
Hearing loss is isolating, and there is a social stigma to being hard of hearing. A person becomes tired of trying to follow conversations she can’t hear, and feels embarrassed to ask what she may have missed.
What does hearing loss have to do with heart health?
It would seem the heart is very distant from the ears, but that is not really the case. Circulatory sludge can restrict blood flow to the delicate inner ear organs. Over time, the harm to hearing can be permanent. The Ear, Nose, and Throat Institute sees a strong correlation between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease, because the inner ear is highly susceptible to circulatory problems.
If a person is diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, it is important to get a baseline hearing evaluation to observe any changes within the course of the disease.
What about girls’ hearing health?
Men have higher rates of hearing loss than do women, possibly due to noisy workplaces and today, the preference for very loud music. The overall hearing loss statistics are 10.5 percent for males and 6.8 percent for females.
Sadly, about 5.2 million children have already sustained hearing loss caused by noise, according to a Centers for Disease Control report.
Even though the percentage may seem low, girls who suffer hearing loss, particularly if it is undiagnosed, can have serious speech and language disabilities. Negative social impacts are possibly greater for those with hearing loss at an early age. Children who do not understand ordinary social interaction through inability to hear are sometimes labeled as ‘backward’ or ‘slow’. Achievement in school becomes a serious challenge.
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D. CC-A and Dr. Zhanneta Shapiro, Au.D, have reached out to schools in the Staten Island community to inform and educate those in need about advanced amplification technology. Dr. Fulman has skills in fitting even the most challenging patients, and Dr. Shapiro has assisted children with hearing handicaps to reach full verbal and academic potential with advanced hearing technology.
An audiologist can work hand-in-hand with educators, speech pathologists and physicians to greatly enhance a child’s future development and benefit the community via education on hearing and the need to preserve it.
What does hearing health have to do with women’s heath management?
Many of us see very little relationship between hearing loss and general health, but there is a strong connection. Here are a few tips to keep hearing sharp throughout a lifetime.
Be careful of Diabetes
Diabetes is a big contributor to circulatory disease and strokes, which damage the inner ear. Persistent high glucose levels harm the tiny inner ear blood vessels, and the brain cannot process sound appropriately with impaired inner ear function.
Make sure glucose levels are kept within the normal range through diet or medication.
Veins and arteries strain to keep up with high blood pressure. The tiny veins and arteries carrying blood to the cochlea can be seriously disabled by poorly-managed hypertension. Take appropriate medication or exercise to manage high blood pressure.
Eat healthy foods
Whole foods are healthy foods. Avoid fast foods and restaurant edibles. A balanced diet provides the nutrients the body needs to avoid circulatory disease and preserve hearing.
Do not smoke
This admonition has been circulating for years, but no one mentions what smoking does to hearing. The Journal of the American Medical Association asserts that smoking can facilitate the development of hearing impairment.
Persons who smoke are 1.6 times more likely to have hearing deficits, compared with those who do not smoke. People who don’t smoke but live with smokers are predisposed to hearing loss also. A pack a day of cigarettes for 40 years makes a person 1.27 times more likely to experience hearing loss compared to those who smoke a pack a day for 10 years.
As we can see, some hearing loss can be avoided with simple, healthful steps to ensure whole-body wellness. A hearing specialist can assist you to take steps to maintain or improve your hearing ability.