RETIREMENT AND (HEARING) HEALTHCARE

If you plan to retire soon, it’s time to think about expenses and how everything will be covered. Healthcare costs, including hearing healthcare, should be factored in. Estimates from HealthView Insights show that an American couple retiring this year can expect just over $400,000 in healthcare costs over the course of retirement, with about 4% of that being out of pocket (and most of it covered by insurance or Medicare).

These numbers are estimates and averages, so actual expenses can vary with gender, age and location. What we can be sure of is that medical expenses will probably make up a significant amount of your total budget. Housing or mortgage costs will probably be the biggest expense, with healthcare costs coming in second. If you are using Medicare, there are a lot of out-of-pocket expenses that are not covered, including hearing aids.

Being Prepared Before You Retire

There are a few things you can do to prepare and save for retirement medical expenses while you are still working. For example, if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) set up while you are still working, before-tax dollars can be used on all of your medical expenses for that year, and you can buy things that aren’t going to be covered when you are retired (like those hearing aids!). Sometimes employers contribute to FSA accounts as well, beefing up the total amount of money you have to spend on such medical expenses, and saving you out-of-pocket costs.

Even if you are not working, make things easier by portioning out money in a separate account for medical expenses so you have easy access when you need it. HealthView has estimated that the average American couple at age 65 will incur about $950 in medical expenses per month, and this number will increase with age.

Keep Yourself Healthy!

It goes without saying the better your health is, the less medical expenses you should expect to pay. Adopting healthy habits is a good rule of preventative care at any age, but can significantly reduce costs during retirement.

Not smoking, losing weight, eating right and exercising regularly are all obvious ways to improve overall health, and they also improve hearing health and reduce the risk of hearing damage.

Get moving! Blood circulation increases with regular movement, even if it’s just a walk around the block once or twice per day. Every organ in your body benefits from better blood circulation, including your ears! The delicate hair cells in your inner ear, which help to translate sound for your brain, are dependent on proper circulation for healthy function–so get that heart pumping!

We all look forward to retirement to enjoy more activities that we love–and some of those are noisy! Be sure to wear adequate hearing protection, such as ear plugs, when you are in a noisy environment, like at a concert, fireworks or in the proximity of machinery like an electric saw or lawnmower.

Hearing Health is Important!

Many Americans over 65 suffer from some degree of hearing loss, which can typically be treated easily with hearing aids. Regular screenings are key to measuring the severity of any existing hearing loss and stopping it in its tracks.

Not treating hearing loss can cost you much more than catching it early and doing something about it. If left untreated, hearing loss can worsen, causing bigger problems down the road such as dementia, anxiety and depression.

There’s good news! An annual hearing screening is painless and easy, and can save you a lot of trouble down the road!

Make a commitment today to improve your overall health by cleaning up your diet and being more active every day.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.

EXERCISE MAY BE GOOD FOR YOUR EARS, TOO!

How much exercise do you get in a typical week? Whether it’s a run around the block, a long walk around the mall or a trip to the gym, we all know that movement is good for our bodies, but did you know it may be good for your hearing as well?

Studies now show that as many as 20% of Americans, and 33% of Americans over the age of 65, suffer from hearing loss. We have also learned that hearing loss can affect much more than just hearing: studies have shown increased risk of depression, dementia and social isolation when hearing loss is a factor. Hearing loss can also make it more difficult to work, which results in income loss for hearing loss sufferers. And since hearing loss is not reversible, anything we can do to prevent or slow hearing loss will be a positive.

The various structures of the ear breaking down as we age contribute to different types of hearing loss. It was found, however, that mice who exercised experienced an average of 5% hearing loss as they aged, while sedentary mice experienced 20% hearing loss.

Exercise increases circulation, which preserves necessary capillaries that deliver blood and oxygen to the ear to preserve the cochlea and other surrounding structures. Elevating your heart rate at least a few times a week is ideal, though taking a daily walk around the neighborhood is also beneficial.

The CDC (U.S. Center for Disease Control), 20% of Americans do not get adequate amounts of exercise. Exercise has so many proven health benefits that hearing loss prevention is just one more added onto a long list of positive things resulting from a less sedentary lifestyle.

Aerobic activity slows the aging process by increasing energy and oxygen to every cell of your body, contributes to faster recovery from chronic illness, improves your skin by increasing circulation, improves your mood by inducing a natural calm state, boosts brain health by reducing age-related loss of brain tissue, and gives you more energy throughout the day to do other activities and chores.

Exercising for only 16 minutes three times per week has been shown to improve health and contribute to all of these benefits. And of course, exercising also contributes to a healthy body weight and positive overall body image. In fact, many have found better results by short bursts of exercise rather than long, drawn out cardiovascular sessions. Staying in motion as much as possible during the day is an easy way to get the most benefit possible. Many people set 10,000 steps per day as a goal to motivate them to stay moving, utilizing tools such as fitness trackers and even health apps on smartphones.

Other ways to protect your hearing and prevent hearing loss are a healthy diet (avoid processed foods whenever possible and eat whole foods to maximize nutrient absorption), avoid loud noises and practice listening skills to train your brain to distinguish sound more effectively.

Because hearing loss can progress slowly, annual hearing screenings are crucial. We may not notice these gradual changes in hearing ability on our own until damage is done.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.