Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Tracey Godwin-Randolph

Recent Posts by Tracey Godwin-Randolph:

Senior Living: When You Exercise Your Hearing, You Exercise Your Brain

NIFS | Active Aging Hearing Loss

Neuroplasticity is the means by which the brain is constantly adapting and changing throughout your life. When it comes to hearing loss, your brain learns to adapt by allowing you to use other senses to make up for what you cannot hear.  However, when it comes to hearing, this rewiring can prove to be a bad thing because so much mental effort is diverted toward understanding speech.

But Jamie Desjardins, PhD, an assistant professor in the speech-language pathology program at The University of Texas at El Paso, showed that hearing aids improve brain function in people with hearing lossTo explore the effects of hearing loss on brain function further, Desjardins studied a group of individuals in their 50s and 60s with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss who had previously never used hearing aids. Study participants took cognitive tests to measure their working memory, selective attention, and processing speed abilities prior to and after using hearing aids. After two weeks of hearing aid use, tests revealed an increase in percent scores for recalling words in working memory and selective attention tests, and the processing speed at which participants selected the correct response was faster. By the end of the study, participants had exhibited a significant improvement in cognitive function.

This study reinforces the old adage, “if you don’t use it, you lose it,” and it’s particularly concerning because some people have hearing loss without ever realizing it.

You should see your doctor and ask to have your hearing checked if:

  • Phone conversations are challenging to hear.
  • You find it hard to track conversations when two or more people are conversing.
  • You find yourself asking others to repeat themselves often.
  • You notice television volume needs to be at a level that is too loud for others.
  • Background noise interferes with basic hearing.
  • Other people’s voices may seem muffled.
  • You have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices.

Most importantly remember this:

  • A hearing test is painless and takes less than an hour.
  • Untreated hearing loss increases your chances of falling.
  • Treating hearing loss with hearing aids is believed to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
  • Untreated hearing loss is known to contribute to depression, social isolation, and cognitive decline.

It is so important not to chalk up hearing loss to a natural progression in the aging process. Consider this, having hearing aids and not using them is just like having sunglasses and not wearing them while squinting when the sun is shining. Both can adversely affect your personal well-being. Remember it’s not just about hearing loss, it is about exercising your brain and taking precautions for a healthy future.

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Topics: hearing loss of hearing hearing aid hearing loss and brain health

Compression Stockings: Not Just for Swollen Ankles and Seniors

ThinkstockPhotos-177502133.jpgCompression stockings are used for a variety of reasons, one of which is to reduce fluid pooling within the lower extremities; and to protect against the potential for developing phlebitis and thrombosis, which can eventually lead to the formation of life-threatening blood clots (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT). Many athletes of all abilities can even be seen wearing compression sleeves and stockings, with the idea that the compression aids in athletic performance.

Ankle Swelling Causes and Effects

The sensation of swollen ankles is often described as a burning or itching feeling, or even as having your legs feel achy or tired. If you have leakage of fluid from your capillaries and it is not resorbed back into your bloodstream, this may result in the swelling of your ankles or feet. However, if you can increase the pressure in and around the capillaries, it is far more likely that the fluid will be resorbed back into the lymph system and naturally eliminated by the body. When there is less pooling of fluid in the legs, the result is increased blood flow in the legs back up toward the heart.

Compression stockings may also be worn following surgery to lower the risk of developing a blood clot, or for any period of time when someone is less active. A doctor may actually prescribe compression stockings if you have varicose or spider veins, or if you have just had surgery for them. Both Sigvaris and Jobst (makers of graduated compression stockings) even note the health benefit of wearing them for travel. Take this into consideration: sitting for a four-hour period or longer can increase your risk for DVT by four times, regardless of your lifestyle, age, or weight. (Here are some ideas for breaking up your sitting time.)

How to Wear Compression Stockings

Listen to your doctor’s recommendations as to how to wear your compression socks and for how long. Some general guidelines are the following:

  • Put your stockings on in the morning.
  • Roll the stocking down and slide it onto your foot to the heel and then roll it up the rest of the leg.
  • Ensure that there are no wrinkles in the stocking after placement, and smooth out any that may have developed while you were rolling it on.
  • Knee-length stockings should come up to two fingers below the bend of the knee.
  • DO NOT stop wearing compression stockings before consulting with your doctor first.

Always talk to your doctor about wearing compression stockings first to ensure proper use, and be sure to report any discomfort you may have while wearing them. 

Compression stockings come in a variety of strengths, ranging from light to strong pressure. Compression stockings are graduated in strength, meaning that the greatest compression is found in and around the ankle with the pressure progressively decreasing up and around the calf. The stockings also come in a variety of fun colors and styles. Trained professionals can best size and fit you based on your specific need.

For more information, talk to your healthcare professional or visit the manufacturers’ websites (Jobst and Sigvaris).

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Topics: injury prevention sitting blood clots travel DVT seniors