Stay Sense-ible: Protecting Your Senses As You Age
Our five senses help us to interact with the world. As we get older, these senses can naturally start to dull. However, bad habits can often speed up this process. To help your senses to stay sharp long into old age, here are a few precautions that you should take.
There are lots of things that can damage our vision, but one of the biggest culprits is bright light. UV light from the sun is the most obvious example – wearing sunglasses on a bright day could protect your eyes and prevent future conditions such as cataracts. Staring at bright screens in the dark is also thought to cause damage –avoid staring at a bright TV or smartphone in the dark.
Smoking can also damage your eyes. In fact, giving up smoking could reduce the risk of dry eyes, glaucoma, cataracts and various other eye conditions.
Taking regular eye tests can help you to look after your vision. If you need glasses, it’s recommended that you wear them, as you’ll likely make your vision worse by straining.
Loud noise exposure is one of the most common causes of premature hearing loss. If you regularly go to concerts or motorsports events or work in a loud environment such as a construction site or nightclub, wearing ear protection could be vital for saving your hearing. Listening to loud music on headphones or in the car is also a common cause of hearing loss.
You should also be careful of how you clean your ears. Poking a cotton bud in your ears can be one of the biggest causes of earwax impaction and could damage your eardrum and ear canal. Avoid the cotton buds and rely on water and eardrops instead (but don’t let your ears stay wet for too long as this can cause infection).
Companies like Listen Lively can help you if you’ve started to experience hearing loss. It could be essential that you wear a hearing aid if you’re suffering hearing loss – further strain to your hearing could make it worse.
A number of conditions can result in hypoesthesia – a reduced sense of touch. Such conditions aren’t always easy to avoid but may be reduced by keeping a good diet and exercise.
Many people lose their sense of touch in certain areas such as the feet or hands from injuries such as cuts or burns. For instance, handling hot objects without gloves could lead to nerve damage in the hand.
Our sense of taste and smell is linked and so can be affected in similar ways. Smoking is one bad habit that can damage these senses – many smokers experience reduced taste and smell in later years, which can affect the ability to enjoy food.
Good dental hygiene is also important for preventing loss of taste and smell. Oral infections from gum disease can lead to loss of taste receptors, while some dental problems can even affect our ability to smell.