Embracing Healthy Aging – and Better Hearing: Kevin English’s Journey to Better Health Over 50

January 16, 2024

In this engaging conversation with Gael Hannan, wellness and nutrition expert Kevin English recounts his transformative journey to improved health and addressing his hearing loss. Confronting challenges of weight, inactivity, and stress in his 40s, Kevin initiated substantial lifestyle changes after a hospitalization wake-up call.

Over the next decade, he honed healthy habits, and now approaching 60, Kevin serves as a full-time online nutrition coach and personal trainer, a testament to his commitment to holistic wellness. He is also the host of the popular podcast ‘The Over 50 Health & Wellness Podcast‘.

Despite years of family jokes about needing hearing aids, Kevin initially denied his hearing loss until a podcast interview with the CEO of HearUSA prompted him to undergo testing, revealing significant hearing loss.

Embracing hearing aids markedly enhanced his participation in group conversations, leading Kevin to champion the importance of holistic wellness, particularly emphasizing the critical role of healthy hearing in cognitive health. Kevin advocates for a well-rounded approach to health, highlighting the significance of regular exercise, proper nutrition, stress management, and quality sleep. He explores how proactive management of hearing health contributes to overall well-being, opening up new possibilities and enhancing life’s quality at any age.

Full Episode Transcript

to This Week in Hearing.

I’m Gael Hannan.

This week I’m so pleased to be

talking with Kevin English.

is a man who at one point in

his life was less than fit,

less, less than healthy,

and he changed all that.

And his new healthy lifestyle

grew to expanded to include

hearing health.

So Kevin is the owner of Silver

Edge Fitness in Wilmington,

North Carolina,

also the host of the popular

over 50 health and wellness

Welcome, Kevin. Thanks,

Gael. Glad to be here.

to have a conversation


hearing health.

Always happy to talk about

hearing health.

we’re going to have kind of a

free ranging conversation

here for a few minutes.

what I wanted to just start

off is tell us about a little

bit about your story,

transformation from how you

to be to how you are now.

And then we’ll talk about your

hearing loss. Sure. Thanks.


So my fitness story probably

starts the interesting part,

I suppose in somewhere in

my early to mid 40s,

I ended up just being as sick

and unhealthy as I’ve ever

been in my life.

And this actually ended up in

a three day hospital stay.

I was overweight,

I was just stressed

out of my mind.

I had a very sedentary


I was more invested in

my career, I suppose.

Drinking daily just had all

very unhealthy habits and

it just ended up not well.

I found myself very sick.

And as I kind of looked

around at my peers,

those other guys my age,

mid 40s,

I saw that that kind of

was pretty common.

There were a lot of us

that were overweight,

a lot of us were sedentary.

A lot of us just weren’t really

focusing on our health.

And I’m talking about health

now in a holistic aspect.

Just obviously your physical,

biological health,

but also mental health,

spiritual health,

emotional health.

There didn’t seem to be a very

positive role model in my

immediate circle of people

that I was close with.

I kept hearing this message,


that’s very fatalistic.

It’s all downhill from here.

And that’s just how it is.

happens when you get old?

Doesn’t it suck?

And kind of ha ha ha

And I thought,

well, wait a minute,

is that my reality?

Is that what I need

to accept now?

And that’s what started me

on this journey. First,

I didn’t want to be sick.

so I started doing things

to be not sick,

just taking basic care of

But in order to do that,

I had no idea what to do.

knew that things like drinking

every day probably

not real healthy.

I knew that eating a lot of fast

food, probably not so healthy.

I knew that I needed

to exercise.

So I went down the Google

rabbit hole,

started researching healthy

and how to optimize your

health and how to lose weight

and all these things.

Long story short is I tried

a lot of everything,

and I can now say,

I’m almost 60.

I’ll be 60 in the spring,

and I’ll tell anybody who will

listen, I’m as strong, fit,

healthy as I’ve ever been in

my entire life. So I spent,


the last decade after

I got un-sick, right.

So I was not sick anymore.

That led me to say, well, okay,

what else is there?

I really optimize from here?

so that led me eventually to

retired from my corporate job

that I’d had for 22 years,

and I’m now a full time online

nutrition coach and

personal trainer.

So I’ve worked with men

and women in their.

Who are looking to transform

their health at this stage

of their life.


Well, I’m over 50,

substantially over 50.

so I want to talk more about

that a little bit later.

But as a hearing loss and

hearing health advocate,

I’m passionate about talking

about hearing loss.

So you have hearing loss.

So tell us about that.

When did you discover that?

Okay. Yeah.

there’s been a running joke

in my family going back.

My kids are grown out of the

house, but every birthday,

every Christmas,

every Father’s Day,

the joke would be,

this is the year that dad

gets hearing aids.

I kept hearing from my

family, you didn’t hear us.

You didn’t hear us.

You didn’t hear us.

And I thought to myself I

don’t have hearing loss.

I just denied it.

And they would say that,

and I would laugh. Hahaha

That’s really funny.

And I ignored it, frankly.

And there were signs looking

back that I did have hearing

loss. It was very,

very difficult for me,

especially in,

say a social environment.

I was a salesperson.

I spent many evenings with

clients in restaurants

where it’s noisy.

I was out with friends and

family at parties it was

pronounced that I just wasn’t

picking up all of the


I just figured it’s because

it’s noisy, right?

everybody can’t hear in that

environment. But very often,

my wife
would elbow me and said,

he’s talking to,

you’re being rude.

And I missed it.

completely missed that piece

of the conversation.

then a funny thing happened.

so you mentioned in the intro

that I have a podcast,

and I had the CEO,

James Gilchrist,

at the time of HearUSA on my

podcast to talk about hearing

health. I thought, well,

this would be a subject that’s

to my demographic.


And throughout that


I told him that story I just

told you. I said, yeah,

wife and kids are constantly

badger me.

You need hearing aids.

You need hearing. I said, well,

you had your hearing check?

And I said,

I think I did a long time ago.

But at any rate,

that’s really the catalyst that

started me on this journey in

terms of hearing health.

I went and got my

hearing tested.

I went to a HearUSA center.

Lo and behold, no surprise.

you have some hearing loss,

and they test specifically for

in noisy environments.


you’re really having

difficulties there.

they set me up with hearing

aids and sent me on my.

It was I’m not going to lie,

it made a huge difference

for me,

especially in those

social situations.

I spend most of my day,

I work from home.

It’s quiet here in the daytime.

not a challenge for me here

when I’m doing a podcast.

And you saw,

when I first came on,

I had a headset on,

so I’m really in tune there.

But when I’m out in public,

when I’m out in social


I realize now that a lot of my,

I guess,

social anxiety for being in

groups was due to the fact

that I just can’t hear.

I have to be really on and

attention and focused at

talking and really leaning

in to make sure I’m not left

out of the conversation.

And now that I’ve corrected

my hearing,

that’s much less of a

challenge for me.

It’s much
more comfortable going

out in these situations,

just being able to participate

in the group, basically.

So that’s kind of how

I ended up here.

Two things jumped

out at me there.

of all was how you denied

your hearing loss,

even though your family

repeatedly told you that you

were not hearing the way that

you could or should.

but we continue to deny it,

even in the evidence.

if our family tells us

we have hearing loss,

we have hearing loss.

That is the best

clue that we can get.



we all
have something that makes

it a change. And for you,

it was that conversation with

else who I’m not sure

whether he had hearing loss,


let’s call him a peer,

when you talk to someone

else who has hearing loss,

that can be life changing.

And your evidence of that.

good for you. Good for you.

I wanted to ask you about the

philosophy of healthy aging.

how does healthy hearing

fit into that?

Yeah, that’s a great question,


one I really didn’t consider

until my own personal journey

here recently.

we now know,

I now know that hearing loss

correlated with dementia and

with Alzheimer’s and with

other conditions. Right.

I have been a champion of

holistic, healthy aging.

That’s my jam.

That’s what I do for a

living these days.

I’m very passionate about it.

And when we talk about

holistic health,

can’t ignore hearing health,


especially in my age


And it’s just really an

important part of

acknowledging and testing,

like you would acknowledge.

Hey, you’re overweight. Hey,

your blood sugar is high.

Hey, your cholesterol is high.

These are all things that if you

were to tell me those things,

I’d say, okay, we need a plan,

we need a roadmap,

need a blueprint for solving

this, for correcting this.

And it’s no different with

hearing health. Right.

If you have hearing loss,

then it is incumbent upon

yourself to take responsibility

for your health,

get that tested and find out

what your options are

for correcting that.

I just
wanted to make a comment

about the connection

to dementia.

The studies show that it is

untreated hearing loss.

I’ve read that you can actually

reverse that by correcting

your hearing loss. Yeah.

Or you can diminish it.


for me, it’s not just hearing,

it’s communication,

and it’s all about

this connection.

when we lose our connection

with other people,

and that’s often you’ll see in

the elderly because

they can’t hear,

or for whatever

that has impact on our health.

so it’s about communication.

getting hearing aids helps

you hear better,

but it also is part of

communicating better.

I will never hear

perfectly well.

I will never hear well again,

with lifelong hearing

loss, I’ve never heard well,

but I can communicate better.

And I think that’s the

underlying thing.

about communication with

body and with your health

and with other people.


it’s a really good point that

I wish more people realized.

so the reverse of that,

how can a healthy lifestyle,

and you probably experienced

based on what you told me,

how is improving our health

and our lifestyle,

how does that

us improve or deal with the

stress that we feel as people

with hearing loss?

deal with our hearing loss

and our tinnitus.

I don’t know if you have

tinnitus, but many of us do.

You are lucky. You are lucky.

Send up a little prayer for

that. But many of us do.

tell me about how a healthy

lifestyle can help reduce

stress. Yeah. So basically,

you can think of a healthy

lifestyle as the tide in the bay

and all of the boats rise

when that tide comes in.

So when we take care of

our bodies, again,

I’m talking holistically.

So I’m bringing in the mental

aspect, the emotional aspect,

the spiritual aspects

of health as well.

even just when we talk about

moving our bodies regularly,

getting that exercise and we

talk about proper nutrition,

when we are healthy,

we show up as the best

version of ourselves,

the most capable version of

the most passionate,

purpose driven of ourselves

version of ourselves.

show up as better sons and

daughters and parents and

and siblings and

and bosses when we

have this regular practice

of self care.

the opposite of that is when

we allow our health

to deteriorate.

And certainly your hearing

would be in this bucket.

Our world gets smaller and

smaller and smaller.

And then as we improve

our health,

our world gets bigger

and bigger.

We have more opportunities,


There’s just more of the world

that’s open to us when we’re

healthy and vibrant and

confident and competent.

And certainly I think that all

of that
goes a huge way towards,

like I said,

it’s all of those boats rising.

there’s several things that

being healthy includes.

And it’s not just lifting

weights or getting your cardio

or eating your vegetables or

ensuring you’re getting

whole foods.

But there’s other things like

managing your stress load.

although you may not be able

to manage your stress,

you can manage how

you react to it.

It’s learning to connect deeply

loved ones and overcoming

loneliness, et cetera,

because we’ve got this

loneliness epidemic now.

It’s learning to get healthy

sleep and having that

really healthy,

sleep every single night.

So all of these things will help

the way you show up in

the world and whatever that

means to you, right.

It’s going to help you shine

your brightest if you’re really

invested in a regular practice

of self care.

I love that.

a couple of years ago,

I took a mindfulness course,

and I

really felt changed. After that,

I had a new tool,

and I find that deep,

intentional breathing.

All our lives,

we’re told if you’re stressed

out, like, take a breath,

just stop and take a breath.

And there’s a reason for that.

So intentional breathing

and for me, meditation,

just even a few minutes it just

calms those neural pathways,

it actually quietens to some

degree the noise in the head.

when I exercise in a day when

I’m actually getting

heart pumping,

cardiovascular stuff going,

it has the same effect.


doesn’t completely eliminate

but it does help me

manage my stress,

and that was a real

big change for me.

woman who’s lived all her life

hearing loss and who’s been

an advocate for 30 years,

almost now learning

these new tools.

And I think that’s important.

There’s always something we

can do to make it better,

to live better.

I love that, Kevin,

thanks for sharing that with

the words that, you know,

I think they resonate with me,

and I’m sure they’ll resonate

with others.

Are there any other little tips

that you have for us before

we sign off? Well,

I would certainly say it can

seem really overwhelming,

and there’s an overwhelming

amount of information

in my industry,

in the health fitness exercise

space. And really,

it’s a matter of just the basics

and almost common sense.

But realizing that

you have agency,

your health is more in your

hands than you think.

are lifestyle changes you

make that can dramatically

improve your quality of life,

but really,

it’s not up to your doctor.

Your doctor is there

to keep you,

help you when you get sick,

to help you be un-sick.

They’re not there to optimize

your health. That’s up to you.

And so when you look at your

health and caring for yourself

remember, I use those words,

this intentional practice of

self care, this regular,

intentional practice

of self care,

all of that’s 100% up to you.

And just seek out peers,


that you resonate with

that take a health first,

long term,

holistic view of your health.

I would just kind of leave you

with that. I love that.

So it is up to me,

but I honestly can’t do it

on my own. I need help.

I need resources.

thank you for that message.

what we’ll do,

going to put your website

your podcast for people to

see they want to get in touch

with you because I really

your message and your

of where hearing

health fits into the

big picture.

Hearing aids are a wonderful

first step,

there are other things that

we can
do to communicate better.

is the glue that

connects us as people to each

other. So it’s very,

very important.

English thank you so much

for spending this time

with us today,

I wish you a happy new year.

And so thank you very much.

Thanks, Gael.

It’s been a pleasure.


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About the Panel 

kevin english

Kevin English, a leading advocate for healthy aging, is the founder of The Silver Edge, an online fitness and nutrition platform dedicated to empowering individuals over 50 to cultivate lean, healthy, and capable bodies. Renowned for his vitality, Kevin guides men and women to redefine strength, enabling them to embrace the latter half of life with optimal health.

As the host of the Over 50 Health & Wellness podcast, Kevin challenges the conventional notion that aging means a decline in well-being. Through a mix of wisdom, inspiration, and practical advice, he educates and uplifts his audience, fostering a collective movement toward making the second half of life the most vibrant.

Kevin is reshaping the narrative of aging, advocating not just for survival but for thriving, transforming the golden years into a period of renewal, strength, and boundless possibilities.


Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog The Better Hearing Consumer, which has an international following, Gael wrote the acclaimed book “The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss“. She is regularly invited to present her uniquely humorous and insightful work to appreciative audiences around the world. Gael has received many awards for her work, which includes advocacy for a more inclusive society for people with hearing loss. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.



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