Can you still hear a pin drop?

Article by
Catherine O'Keeffe.

If not, it might be time to start protecting your hearing. Take it from someone who knows, author and wellness coach Catherine O'Keeffe of, hearing function begins to decline in the middle years, as the protective effect of oestrogen wanes.

Some people are afraid of going to the dentist, for me it’s a visit to the audiologist. So I made a very brave move recently, one I will tell you I put on the long finger for some time.

One of my kids I reckon has animal hearing, he can hear a sweet wrapper being crinkled from miles away ! Recently I took a trip to an audiologist - no easy task for me I will admit but what I do know and did learn is the VITAL importance of watching your hearing at midlife…please take it from someone who knows…our hearing will reduce over the coming years so doing what you can to protect it is a must. 

When I was 21, I suffered nerve damage in one of my ears which left me with surround sound of 20%, so I was petrified to be very honest with what this visit would tell me and in the back of my mind I have had the niggling worry that I might in a few years be facing more severe hearing loss across both ears. Anyway I went, obviously things haven’t improved (that isn’t going to happen, these nerves don’t regenerate themselves) but the great news was how good my hearing is in my ‘good ear’ (I have developed strategies over the years to use my dominant ear as much as possible) and I’m not yet at the stage for a hearing aid. So I’ll take that for now and see what happens over the next 5+ years. What I do know and did learn is the VITAL importance of watching your hearing at midlife…please take it from someone who knows…our hearing will reduce over the coming years so doing what you can to protect it is a MUST. 

Top Tips
(1) Do get your hearing monitored by an audiologist so you have a benchmark to go against in the coming years, you can be reviewed every 5 years.

(2) Oestrogen does help protect the auditory system so make sure you are getting phytoestrogens into your diet. Phytoestrogens are an essential component of a woman’s daily diet, 
they are compounds that are naturally found in plants and plant foods.
If your diet contains fruits, vegetables, legumes, and some grains, 
then you are already getting phytoestrogens. 
A plant based diet is very rich in natural phytoestrogens in healthy amounts,
especially from soy. “Phyto-” is a Greek word meaning “plant” and estrogen
is the female hormone that regulates functions in both women and men. 

When we eat phytoestrogens, our bodies may respond as if real estrogen 
were present and thereby reduce some of the common symptoms of perimenopause. 
Potential benefits of phytoestrogens include:
•Reduce menopausal hot flushes
•Prevent bone loss and protect against osteoporosis
•Stabilize blood sugar levels
•Regulate the menstrual cycle
•Improve cognitive function

Best food sources are soya, tofu, linseeds, chickpeas, lentils, red beans, black-eyed peas, green peas, split peas and soybeans.

(3) Protect your hearing as much as possible by avoiding loud environments

(4) Wear ear plugs if you mowing the lawn (better yet leave that one to someone else !!), on a plane or at musical concerts.

If you need help with perimenopause or menopause symptoms, Catherine provides a full coaching service ( to help women who are finding hormonal change challenging. It includes a lifestyle audit,  a practical plan for movement/exercise, sleep, meditation and relaxation that works with your life. It includes nutrition for weight management and energy and recommendations for supplements. Consulatations start at €120 for 90-120 minutes and include a personalised plan. 

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