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Give the gift of hearing this holiday season

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Updated: 1/17/2013 10:15 am

(BPT) - Getting older doesn't necessarily mean looking and feeling older. Age 50 is the new 30, according to celebrities who crossed that threshold in recent years. And while the body can start to show signs of aging, it doesn't necessarily mean one has to suffer.

Take hearing for instance. Hearing loss symptoms - raising the volume on the radio and television, asking people to repeat themselves or not being able to hear a conversation in a restaurant - often become apparent as people age.

One common cause of hearing loss is repeated exposure to loud noises, which can damage the hearing cells in the inner ear. But just as often, hearing loss stems from injury, an illness and even aging.

Living with untreated hearing loss can be very detrimental. Professionals need to hear well so they can get their work done and meet their employers' expectations. People with untreated hearing loss lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, according to the Better Hearing Institute.

Hearing loss also affects family relationships and personal confidence as well. People who wear hearing aids to treat their hearing loss discover improved relationships with family members, stronger self-confidence, a better social life and higher self-esteem, according to a study done by The National Council on Aging.

As the holiday season approaches, consider presenting your loved one with the gift of hearing this year. Take your loved one to see a hearing care professional. A hearing care professional can help find the right style and technology level of hearing devices to perfectly fit your loved one's needs. It's important to find the right hearing aid that matches a person's lifestyle. With technology improvements, hearing aids have come a long way from the large devices that echoed feedback just a few years ago. Now hearing aids are specifically designed to improve hearing in noisy environments, eliminate feedback and make it easier for a person to enjoy watching TV, listening to music, talking on cellphones and more. Visit Starkey.com for information about hearing aids, hearing health and to find a professional.

A hearing care professional can help your loved one determine which hearing aid style best fits their lifestyle. The styles are:

* Behind-the-ear - This is the most common style for moderate to severe hearing loss. The device sits behind the ear and sends sound to the ear canal via the earmold and clear plastic tubing, which is molded to fit comfortably in the outer ear area.

* Receiver-in-canal - Similar in look to the BTE style, but this device puts the receiver into the canal, rather than in the hearing aid case behind the ear.

* Completely-in-canal - Nearly invisible, the entire hearing aid device is custom-fitted into the ear canal. It is a good choice for people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.

* In-the-canal - Discreet, yet slightly visible within the outer ear, this device is custom-made for each individual.

* In-the-ear - This hearing aid is custom-made for each individual, and sits directly in the ear, giving wearers easy access to the device for adjustment.

Giving the gift of hearing to a loved one this holiday season not only is a gift to the recipient, but also his family, friends and coworkers. Visit Starkey.com to find a hearing professional near you and to research which hearing aid would be the most beneficial for your loved one.

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