The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: Protect Your Ears, Protect Your Brain…

9 Oct

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do-over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course on what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

A few months back, I summarized some secrets from our new book AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip (released February 28th, 2017).  Some of you must have bought it as the book made it to #10 on the NY Times list and #3 on the Wall Street Journal List.  Thank you.

This month, I want to talk about small choices that can make a major difference in how long you live and your quality of life, or as I like to say, a small change that will make your RealAge much younger: Keeping Your Hearing!

International researchers recently published a study in The Lancet that shows one-in-three cases of dementia could be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle and being aware of some of the early warning signs—such as mid-life hearing loss—that you might not immediately associate with cognitive decline. For the 16 million people in the United States living with cognitive impairment, that means over five million of them could have dodged the decline. I think more than 30% is preventable, maybe as much as 80% (if you add eating our YOU Diet, stress management, physical activity, avoiding toxins, and doing a few speed of processing games, too).

One major problem for many with hearing loss: they isolate themselves.  Studies show lack of social interaction is linked with cognitive decline.

Your smart steps—get your hearing tested. If it needs help, get help. And keep trying different hearing aids until you find a set that works for you.  Then, stay involved with people—volunteer; reach out to friends and neighbors; and continue your education—that’ll build your cognitive reserve. Do that, and you may cut your chances of developing dementia by 30 percent (or more)!

While we’re on the topic of ears… According to Ohio State University researchers, an average of 34 children under 18 are treated in US hospital emergency departments every day for ear injuries related to the use of cotton-tipped swabs. Around 77 percent occur when a child is using a cotton-tipped applicator.

These common injuries are pushing ear wax further into the ear so it becomes impacted and damages the ear drum—which can cause hearing loss. True, occasionally ear wax does become too much of a good thing, making it hard to hear or just giving you an uncomfortable feeling. Then you need to see your doc to get it safely flushed out. To hear about the right way to clean your ears, Google “the right way to clean your ears Dr. Oz Show” or

So don’t disrespect your ears.  Keep the maximum level on earphones and other devices below the 2/3rds maximum point, too. You’ll live smarter, longer and have a younger RealAge.


Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to

Dr. Mike Roizen



NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese make great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.

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