A brief look at how technology is helping us to deal with health issues
Most of us will age, some better than others, but time will catch up us all in the end. We might spend a lot of time looking in the mirror at our wrinkles and droopy bits of skin, but we fail to give proper attention to our internal health – in particular our eyes, ears and brains.
However, there is good news for all of us who crave mortality. Cataracts can be operated on, hearing can be helped by new technology like Hidden Hearing Hearing aids and if we keep our brain on its toes then who’s to stop us? Let’s take a look at what deteriorates in our body as we get older, and what kind of technology is out there to lend us a hand (because sadly we’re still not quite there with those personal robot butlers).
Between the ages 30 and 50 you may find that your joints and back start to seize. This means you can become stiff more easily than before and you could experience more back and neck ache, which will have a real effect on how you live your life.
We’re afraid we aren’t quite there yet with total bionic joint replacement or are we? In fact, one woman has had nearly every joint replaced in her body as early as 2008 and people are working on creating joint replacements and prosthetics that work as naturally as possible, so they don’t hinder people’s experience of life.
As you age, your brain also becomes sluggish and can even shrink as it ages, meaning it simply won’t process as fast as it used to and your memory will no longer be what it was.
However there are definitely things that can be done to keep you brain from taking it too easy. For example, listening to music can exercise your brain, and socializing is great too – or you could just slap a trans-cranial direct current simulation headset on and have electrodes zap your brain to improve its functionality. Did I mention that they’re only going to be around £165? A good bargain I guess.
Hearing loss is another common ailment as we age; mainly because the hair cells in the cochlea become less effective at picking up sounds due to noise-induced damage over the years. You can’t stop it, but you can help keep it to a minimum by not abusing your hearing at a younger age by turning the volume down on everything. If you should suffer when you grow older, there are some incredible ways of improving your quality of life, using technology.
The Made for iPhone hearing aid is a good example and allows users to make adjustments to their hearing aid using an app on their smartphone. In a noisy restaurant, the user can record the background noise with their phone and then their hearing aid will adjust to this, so they can enjoy the eating out experience and busy environment properly.
Finally, as we age, the lenses of our eyes also loose the ability to change shape and so become stiffer. This is called presbyopia and will eventually require intervention. There are other conditions like cataracts or glaucoma, which we may have to deal with too.
Laser treatment and glasses are of course the main methods of aiding eyesight but what if you become partially sighted or blind? That’s where apps such as Be My Eyes come in and assist those who struggle to see via their phone, by allowing them to receive help from a volunteer via live video chat, who can direct them or instruct them on what to do. From something as simple as checking expiry dates on food to looking at train timetables, helpers can guide blind people through every day life.
These ailments might sound scary but it is not a hopeless battle; by keeping yourself fit, eating a nutritious diet, maintaining good relationships and even relaxing you can keep your body and immune system in the best condition possible, and there’s always plenty of tech out there to lend a hand and help you on your way to a healthier lifestyle.