Have you already been diagnosed with hearing loss? Or do you have a sneaking suspicion that your hearing abilities are not as they once were? Here are five easy ways you can take action to protect your hearing health and diminish the chances of it getting worse.
Wear your hearing aids
This tip is for those who were already diagnosed with hearing loss and prescribed hearing aids as a treatment. Many adults are stubborn when it comes to wearing hearing aids—especially because they are often linked to “getting old.” However, it’s important that these patients wear them if they don’t want their hearing to worsen.
This is because the amplification is exactly what your brain needs to help the ears send sound waves to its auditory region. This is where sound waves are processed so that they’re recognized as sound. If hearing loss isn’t treated properly, then this part of the brain can atrophy, making it even harder to regain hearing.
It’s important not to ignore hearing conditions because good hearing health isn’t just good for listening.
Research shows that people who wear hearing aids experience additional health benefits. This could be because the energy they would be exerting trying to hear is better allocated in other areas of their lives.
Those who suffer from hearing loss are more likely to isolate themselves and not want to engage in social gatherings because they can’t hear well. This can explain the strong correlation between hearing loss and depression among adults in the US. There are also relationships between untreated hearing loss and increased anger, anxiety, and social isolation.
Exercise increases the blood flow to the ear, and good blood flow is crucial to the health of the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. These are responsible for translating sound into electrical impulses for the brain to decode. Unlike the hairs on our heads, these hair cells do not regenerate, so once they’re damaged, our hearing suffers permanently.
Try to fit some moderate exercise in (like walking, hiking, gardening, or any other physical activity you enjoy) for at least 30 minutes a day for five days out of the week, as per the American Heart Association’s recommendations.
Another reason to stop smoking is its link to hearing loss. Research from the University of Manchester in the UK shows that smokers are 28 percent more likely to develop hearing loss than non-smokers. The risk would increase as the number of packs of cigarettes smoked increases.
Turn down the volume
Turning down the volume of the noise in your environment is a surefire and easy way to prevent hearing loss. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), an estimated 26 million Americans have hearing loss caused by exposure to noise.
To protect your hearing from the effects of too much noise, the NIDCD suggests:
- Knowing which noises are damaging (85 decibels or louder).
- Wearing protection like earplugs when you know you’ll be exposed to loud noise.
- Moving away from loud noise if you are exposed to it.
- Protect the hearing of children or others who cannot protect themselves.
Schedule a hearing evaluation
Remember, if you suspect that your hearing health may be suffering, the best way to improve it is to establish a relationship with a hearing healthcare professional. They can help you evaluate the current state of your health and monitor it as time goes on. Reach out to your family physician for a recommendation.