May is National Better Hearing & Speech Month. It’s the perfect time to call your hearing health care provider and get an updated hearing evaluation and adjustment of your hearing instruments. If you have never had a complete hearing work-up then now is the time. I just spent several days at Starkey Hearing Technologies in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Starkey is our country’s oldest and largest hearing instrument manufacturer.

Some new statistics are out about hearing loss and corrective measures. The numbers always surprise me.

We know that physical activity is good for us. It is good for our mind and our body. Some benefits of physical activity: It provides a reduces risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression. There is a 50% reduced risk of developing diabetes, and a whopping 60% reduced risk of colon cancer in men. Breast cancer risk is reduced by 60% and prostrate cancer risk reduced by 66%. Exercising 30 minutes a day for five days a week also provides a 43% reduced risk of strokes in women.

Those are some impressive numbers. How do we really know if we are doing enough for our bodies and our brains? Well, like all things, what we monitor or track we can improve. People wear many variations of activity trackers. Some we clip to our waist, while others are worn on the wrist. Starkey Hearing Technologies have developed the first multi-purpose hearing healthable hearing instrument with embedded sensors and artificial intelligence. What exactly does “healthable hearing instrument” mean? The hearing device takes a “whole body and brain” approach to provide a new gateway to better hearing and better health.

A study by Harvard Medical School found that people who use activity trackers were more physically and socially active than people who did not use the trackers. In fact, at six months, 88% of people were still using them. According to the National Institute of Health: “Physical activity trackers and step counters are helping people to develop and maintain healthy habits.”

Benefits of social engagement brings about social well-being. Thus, social well-being is associated with much lower levels of Interleukin-6, an inflammatory factor implicated in age-related disorders such as osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and some forms of cancer. Social isolation is a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality in older adults. In fact, loneliness is a unique risk factor for symptoms of depression and actually have a synergistic adverse effect on the well-being of not just older adults but also those who are middle-aged.

Tracking and monitoring our physical activity and our socialization is simply good for our health. Starkey Hearing Technology’s development of the first hearing aid with imbedded sensors and artificial intelligence provide premium health monitoring services. It has been researched and proven that our ears are the very best place on the body for a fitness tracking device to be located. The head offers the most accurate measurements of the body. (If you have a fitness tracker on your wrist you can swing your wrist if you want to give yourself “more steps” for example.)

Falling is another risk as we get older. According to the National Council on Aging, there are some alarming fall statistics: Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall and it will count the U.S. a projected cost of $67.7 billion by the year 2020. A fear of falling is a top fear in adults and one of the leading reasons that people move out of their homes to live with their children or in assisted living facilities.

Now, there is a hearing instrument that can automatically send a text message to someone if you have fallen. You can even send a message for help with the press of a button on the aid if you need help. (Maybe you aren’t right and maybe having a stroke ... simply press the button and it will send a message for help to up to three people that you have designated as a contact).

These are not your grandma’s hearing aids anymore. They are devices that do more than provide better hearing. They can count your steps, calculate your gestures, social activities and send alert when help is needed. They are a gateway to better health. Be healthier and happier! Be social! Be proactive with your health and well-being! The Fall Detection & Alert System allows you to stay independent and be in your own home longer. Everyone wants good health and independence, now there is a single device that can help you achieve this. Make the call. To hear better is to live better.

Roseann B. Kiefer, B.A., BC-HIS, is owner of Lampe and Kiefer Hearing Aid Center, Sebring. This information is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure your condition. Always talk to your doctor before following any medical advice or starting a diet or exercise program.

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