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Monitoring our eyes and ears in old age

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As we get older, our senses of sight and hearing may naturally deteriorate, making daily life a bit harder. Maintaining regular check-ups helps us to make sure our eyes stay healthy and keep on top of any hearing problems.

The changes are often gradual that it’s difficult to notice when anything may be wrong. You or a loved one may end up relying on a magnifying glass to read the fine text in a magazine or newspaper or turning the television up louder than it normally would be. These cases can indicate where sight or hearing tests are necessary.

Eye health

Having regular eye tests is one of the best ways to check on not just our eye health, but also our general wellbeing. While sight tests have traditionally looked at whether or not we need corrective lenses to see more clearly, tests have evolved over the years to include a range of other health checks.

Eye-related diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration are more common in older people. Undergoing an examination can pick up on any of these diseases, if present, as well as offer indications of general health concerns like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Sight tests are free for anybody over the age of 60 and it’s recommended to have one at least once every two years. However, your optician can advise on whether more frequent tests are necessary depending on medical circumstances.

Hearing loss

Around 2 out of 5 people over the age of 50 have suffered some form of hearing loss over time. It’s free to get a hearing check-up from your GP on the NHS. They can carry out some basic tests like checking for a build-up of earwax or treating an ear infection, which may be contributing to hearing loss.

If the cause of hearing loss goes deeper than this, you may be referred to an audiologist for additional tests. They will be able to assess your hearing to determine why it may have worsened, as well as recommend treatment.

Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, it may be necessary to get a hearing aid. These devices are getting smaller and more discreet as the technology behind them improves. If you’re not sure whether you’d feel comfortable wearing a hearing aid, you can ask if it’s possible to trial it for a short time first.