Facing Facts About Hearing Loss

May was Better Hearing Month, and I did a lot of radio interviews, some on behalf of AARP, others for my new book, Living Better With Hearing Loss: A Guide to Health, Happiness, Love, Sex, Work, Friends … and Hearing Aids. As I heard myself repeating the statistics in one interview after another, I was unhappily reminded of the magnitude of the numbers of people with hearing loss, and the blithe dismissal with which it is generally treated. The prime example …

Why Our Young Adults Do the Things They Do

About a decade ago, Frances Jensen’s sweet-natured 15-year-old son returned home from a friend’s house with his hair dyed black and announced he was planning to add red streaks. Jensen’s reaction was typical of countless parents who suddenly confront a stranger living in their house. “I was gobsmacked. Is this really my child?” she writes. While many of us would just start ranting, Jensen, then a Harvard Medical School neurology professor and researcher, was inspired by the incident to start …

Tough Job? You May Reap Brain-Health Rewards Later

Ever feel like you’ve worked so hard that your brain needs a break at the end of the day? Or that you’ve negotiated your way through so many political minefields that you feel you should get a peace prize? Although it may seem as if your workplace is frying your brain, it turns out the mental demands of work help protect your memory and thinking skills later in life, at least according to one new study published in the journal …

When Mom Can Hear and You Can’t

As my mother got older, our roles reversed, as they will when a parent reaches the ninth and even 10th decade. But there was one way in which she grew stronger, while I grew weaker. She could hear, and I couldn’t. In her 80s, my mother’s mind and body succumbed to aging. She developed dementia, she had frequent falls and was often wheelchair bound. She and my father had moved south to a retirement community, so as not to be …

Can’t Hear in a Restaurant? Time to Get Your Hearing Checked

If you’re finding it hard to hear what your companions are saying in a restaurant or at a party, it’s time to get your hearing checked. The inability to hear speech in a noisy environment is one of the first signs of hearing loss, and although it may bother you only in certain situations, it’s not something to ignore. Hearing loss should not be dismissed as a natural sign of aging any more than high blood pressure or cholesterol would …

Major Report Shows What Works, What Doesn’t, for Better Brain Health

The Institute of Medicine today released a groundbreaking new report that spells out what older Americans can do to keep their brains healthy into very old age, while offering insight into the lifestyle habits and medications that can lead to cognitive decline. The report, cosponsored by AARP and authored by some of the leading neuroscientists, psychiatrists and brain-health experts in the country, offers the first multidisciplinary look at how aging affects the brain. It creates a new term — “cognitive …