Longevity is one of the most significant rewards of optimal wellbeing. When we practice the Habits of Health, we are more likely to live longer, more vibrant lives. If your goal is longevity, you need to think more deeply about what that means for your daily choices, especially when it comes to your senses.
A vibrant life means more than just adding years to our life. The quality of those years matter as well. If we live into our 90s and beyond, we want those years to be rich and fulfilling. That means having the energy to be present and the health to create even more wonderful memories.
When we fix our goals on the idea of longevity, then, we should also build habits that protect that vibrancy. We want to have the eyesight to see our grandkids playing in the yard. We want to have the mobility to be out there with them. We want to have the hearing to enjoy their laughter. While you likely agree with me as I say this, the frantic pace of our modern lives has many of us sacrificing the longterm wellbeing of our hearing or our eyesight.
This is about more than convenience. A Dutch research study found that the odds of becoming “severely lonely” increase by 7 percent for every decibel drop in perception, and that’s for people under 70. When we can’t hear the world around us, we are less able to participate in conversations. We may stop attending social gatherings like church or outings with friends because we can’t take part when we can’t hear. Sound can be our lifeline to what matters most to us, and losing even a little bit of our hearing can feel like being cut off.
The quality of our hearing or even our eyesight late in life is often driven by the choices we make throughout our lives. You can build habits today that protect the health of your senses tomorrow.
For hearing specifically, here’s how you can protect your ears:
- Listen to music at comfortable volumes. If you attend a concert, bring earplugs or other forms of hearing protection.
- Avoid in-ear earbud-style headphones because of how closely they sit to the ear canal. If you do use them, use a lower volume.
- Hearing protection elsewhere in your daily life is also recommended. Mowing the grass, for example, produces noise above a safe threshold.
- Don’t be embarrassed if you need hearing aids. If you are experiencing hearing loss now, use your hearing aids so that you can be a part of the conversation.
- Get regular check-ups to address problems before they get too serious.
If you want to keep something later into your life, whether it’s your hearing or your eyesight or your mobility, work on protecting it now. Your longer life will be rich and more meaningful as a result.