The New Year is a great opportunity to commit to your health and wellness. A great way you can do this is by prioritizing your hearing health. The following strategies can effectively support your hearing health in the new year.
- Schedule a hearing test. Though hearing loss is one of the most common medical conditions people experience today, it is widely undertreated. Over 48 million, 1 in 6, people have some degree of hearing loss. But only a third of people who could benefit from treatment actually receive it. In a study conducted by the American-Speech- Language-Hearing Association conducted, researchers found that:
- 2 in 10 adults have had a hearing test in the past 5 years, compared to 6 in 10 adults who have had their vision tested.
This highlights that hearing health is often not prioritized. Even if you do not suspect
hearing loss, it is still important to have your hearing tested regularly. Hearing tests
involve a painless process that measures hearing capacity in both ears. This identifies
any hearing loss and degree of impairment you could be experiencing. If you do not have
hearing loss, hearing tests establish a baseline of your hearing health. This makes it
easier to detect any changes you may experience over time.
- Reduce loud noise exposure. Loud noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. One time or consistent exposure to excessive noise can cause noise induced hearing loss by permanently damaging the sensory cells in the inner ear. This type of hearing loss is preventable so practicing safety measures is important. A few ways you can protect your hearing from loud noise are:
- Wear hearing protection: headphones, earplugs, earmuffs etc. – which provides a physical barrier for the ears. This reduces the amount of loud noise you absorb.
- Take listening breaks: your ears and brain are constantly absorbing and processing sound throughout the day. Taking 5-10 minute listening breaks provides time and space to rest and recuperate which can do your auditory system some good.
- Lower volume: electronic devices can reach high noise levels that are hazardous for hearing health. Be sure to maintain lower volume settings on your TV, phone, headphones etc.
A few other tips include to avoid noisy environments especially during peak hours,
wear hearing protection while on airplanes and in transit, and make any adjustments
to your work space to reduce noise exposure.
- Adjust your diet. Healthy eating contributes to healthy hearing. A significant study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School found that people following healthful diets were 30% less likely to develop hearing loss. These dietary patterns consisted of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and fish. Increasing your intake of these foods provide an abundant source of nutrients that supports hearing health. This includes magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate, and vitamin C. This new year, integrate more of the nutrients in your everyday diet.
- Avoid triggers. Studies show that smoking and drinking increase the risk of hearing loss. Experts suggest that nicotine and alcohol can damage blood vessels and affect blood flow throughout the body, including the inner ear. This can impact how sound is absorbed and processed, preventing this from happening effectively. You can protect your hearing health by quitting smoking and drinking – or reducing intake as much as possible.
- Exercise. Exercise offers numerous health benefits including supporting hearing health. It promotes healthy blood flow and circulation in the body, including the ears where hearing happens. There are simple ways you can increase physical activity in your everyday life. This includes taking a daily walk, stretching, and finding an activity you enjoy – biking, golfing, swimming etc.
- Explore hearing technologies. In addition to hearing aids, which are the most common treatment for hearing loss, there are other technologies that support hearing health. This includes assistive listening devices and hearing aid accessories. Be sure to discuss these options with your hearing healthcare provider who can recommend technologies that would work best for your needs.
Practicing these strategies and significantly protect your hearing health and wellness. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing aid consultation in the new year. We look forward to helping you prioritize your health!