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Old 02-01-2012, 11:28 PM
 
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It's supposed to be "normal" for aging people to have problems with vision, hearing and teeth. I think among the three, perhaps vision problem is the most common. I wonder if / how many of aging folks here or those you know who have the same good vision as when they were younger? I knew an 80 yr. old woman who never needed glasses and could read papers like young people (no, she had not been near-sighted, she said, so it's not a cancellation between the two). She also never lost any hearing. Gene must be a big factor, but what about other factors?
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:55 AM
 
Location: In a house
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Certain ailments are common in later stages of life. That doesn't mean everyone who gets old will be afflicted. It just means that IF you are destined to have cataracts, you are most likely to get them when you're old, rather than young.

Teeth decay when they're not cared for properly and when the diet is not respected throughout life. So, that one year you had cravings for hot fudge sundaes isn't gonna make or break you. But if you were eating those every month, for 50 years, and smoked a pack a day, and drank 4 cups of coffee every day, and rejected the dentist because of a phobia, and now you're 90 years old, don't be surprised if you are missing a few teeth.
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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In countries with low literacy rates, people retain sharp vision much later in life. Reading is extremely harmful to the eyes, and is a principal cause of vision loss in later years. The human eye did not evolve to do hours of close work everyday, and reading forces us to focus on close work for many hours a day.

China has long recognized this, and school children are required to stop their work every hour or so, and look out the window for ten minutes.

As a traveling birdwatcher, I've had plenty of opportunities to see rural people in the third world who can, in advanced age, see birds more clearly with their naked eye than I can with binoculars.

Similarly, our hearing is seriously impaired by the constant bombardment of noise. Notice, when you're driving on the highway, that when you pull off the road and stop, you need to turn your radio down. That's because your car is making so much noise, that the radio needs to be very loud to drown it out. You don't realize it, but you live all day in a very loud environment, and your ears are constantly being hammered with noise that they did not evolve to tolerate, and your hearing goes many hours every day without getting any rest.

Also, it would have made no sense for evolution to have furnished you with body parts that would last 200 years, if your total lifespan was expected to be only about 70. There would be no survival value in 200-year teeth, and 70-year teeth are more economical. Each component evolved to provide a useful life of about 70 years, and after that, they begin to degrade. Just as a car manufacturer would find it uneconomical to engineer an alternator or water pump to last a million miles, if the rest of the car was designed to last only 200,000.

Last edited by jtur88; 02-02-2012 at 09:51 AM..
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Missouri
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I would say it is not unusual to suffer the loss of teeth, hearing and vision, but many times it can be prevented. Talk to your doctors for more advice, but I work in geriatrics and many (but certainly not all) of my people with dentures will tell you that they seldom had cleanings and check-ups of their teeth; many eye doctors recommend wearing sunglasses that protect the eyes from UV rays but few people do and very few did in the past; and some folks I know with profound hearing loss (again, certainly not all) worked in very loud environments.

My point is, we can't always prevent these things from happening, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of keeping your vision, hearing, and teeth.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:36 AM
 
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Is it fair to say >95% people develop presbyopia? Is there a way to prevent or lessen it? (The 80 yr old woman I mentioned didn't even suffer this.)
Many old people I know don't seem to have hearing problem. I suspect hearing is more related to the general health state?
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:34 AM
 
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I've always had awful vision but the blind services I have worked with many times tells me that most of their clients are aged 65 or older. In other words, the bulk of the "visually impaired" community is seniors who were sighted throughout life and started losing their eyesight during their retirement years.

Presbyopia and presbycusis both happen naturally with age. Both of these can be fixed with reading glasses and a hearing aid. (Neither of those qualify you for blind/low vision or deaf/hard of hearing services.) Some people develop other eye problems like AMD, which causes vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses. Some older people develop cataracts, which cause vision loss but are correctible with surgery. The only thing is that they have to get bad enough before an eye doctor will do surgery, so there's that period of time where someone might be losing vision due to a treatable condition.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:39 AM
 
10,452 posts, read 11,572,822 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssww View Post
It's supposed to be "normal" for aging people to have problems with vision, hearing and teeth. I think among the three, perhaps vision problem is the most common. I wonder if / how many of aging folks here or those you know who have the same good vision as when they were younger? I knew an 80 yr. old woman who never needed glasses and could read papers like young people (no, she had not been near-sighted, she said, so it's not a cancellation between the two). She also never lost any hearing. Gene must be a big factor, but what about other factors?
A lot of it has to do with what you've been exposed to. Factory workers, for example, are much more likely to have significant hearing loss in older age. People who do a lot of computer work are likely to need reading glasses sooner than those who don't.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:51 AM
 
13,636 posts, read 22,954,075 times
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Well I started going deaf in my twenties, wore glasses in my late thirties and lost some teeth in my forties..Now that I am an "old person" I am legally deaf, have a cataract and have lost most of my teeth..Mainly due to poor nutrition and dental care as a child..

My H who is even older than this "old person" has 20/20 vision, can hear through brick walls and has every single tooth he was born to have..It is a matter of having good strong gene's and good nutrition and medical care as a child..
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:56 AM
 
10,452 posts, read 11,572,822 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Blue View Post
Well I started going deaf in my twenties, wore glasses in my late thirties and lost some teeth in my forties..Now that I am an "old person" I am legally deaf, have a cataract and have lost most of my teeth..Mainly due to poor nutrition and dental care as a child..

My H who is even older than this "old person" has 20/20 vision, can hear through brick walls and has every single tooth he was born to have..It is a matter of having good strong gene's and good nutrition and medical care as a child..
I needed reading glasses at 12 and hearing aids at 19.

I'm studying to work with the deaf blind population, and most deaf blind people have glasses, hearing aids, the works, in their 20's and middle age years. They blow the older presbyopic, presbycusic population out of the water, lol. Some of them are just totally deaf blind and have to use braille and tactile sign language.

It always amuses me when older folks complain about their hearing/vision loss, though at the same time, I do understand that it's hard for someone that's been used to seeing/hearing their whole lives. It's an easier adjustment to make in your 20's, or even your 40's, than it is in your 60's or 80's.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:06 AM
 
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My mother grew up poor and never saw a dentist until her 30s. Yet she has fairly healthy teeth and gums now in her 60s. That's because she started taking care of them religiously in her 30s. So it's not too late to develop good oral hygiene. Your teeth and gums are very resilient as long as you don't wait too long to start. Now, if you neglected them for 50 years and decide to start flossing on your 50th birthday, then expect to lose some teeth later.

I have a relative who's in his 60s and he's lost several teeth, and his gums are so bad he can't even get implants. He was really lazy with oral care, and by the time he decided to start practicing oral hygiene, it was too little too late. You can't undo a lifetime of laziness.
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