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Did you know that March 3rd is World Hearing Day? Organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), this global campaign is all about hearing health. You can celebrate World Hearing Day by practicing the following strategies to protect your hearing health and wellness.
- Wear hearing protection. Loud noise is a common cause of hearing loss. One time or regular exposure to loud noise can permanently damage the sensory cells in the inner ear. This prevents them from processing soundwaves effectively, resulting in the brain receiving less auditory information and this causes noise induced hearing loss. It is estimated that over 50 million people are exposed to hazardous noise levels on a regular basis.
Additionally, WHO estimates that over 1 billion people globally are at high risk of
developing noise induced hearing loss. An effective way you protect your hearing is by wearing hearing protection – headphones, earbuds, earmuffs, earplugs etc. These items provide the ears with a physical barrier, reducing the amount of loud noise you absorb. They are small and portable, allowing you to easily access them when moving through nosier settings.
- Use noise canceling headphones. Headphones and earbuds have become a common way we listen to audio throughout the day. From podcasts, to music, and talking on the phone; headphones and earbuds allow us to listen conveniently. But they are also a common source of loud noise exposure. In fact, depending on the device they are connected to, sound can reach 102dB (iPhone). This far exceeds the safety limit of 85dB. A great way you can prevent this loud noise exposure and protect your ears is by investing in noise canceling headphones. These headphones maximize noise cancellation technology which is destined to reduce background noise. This prevents the volume from having to be increased when moving through environments that are noisier; allowing people to listen to audio safely.
- Boost intake of nutrients. Studies show that diet also impacts hearing health. Research highlights that following healthy dietary patterns can reduce the risk of developing hearing loss. There are specific nutrients that support healthy hearing including: magnesium, potassium, zinc, and folate. These nutrients support the cells, nerves, and auditory pathways that are integral to how sound is absorbed and processed. You can increase your intake of these nutrients by eating more plant based foods like vegetables and fruits as well as decreasing your consumption of processed foods.
- Eliminate triggers. Studies also show that there are other behavioral factors that can contribute to hearing loss. This includes smoking and drinking which experts suggest cna impact blood vessels and circulation. The active ingredients in these substances – nicotine and alcohol- can restrict blood flow throughout the body including the ears where sound waves are processed. This can disrupt the hearing process and contribute to hearing loss. It is important to eliminate these triggers or reduce your consumption as much as possible.
- Increase exercise. Exercise has numerous health benefits but did you know that it also supports healthy hearing? That’s right, exercise supports blood flow and circulation which supports the processing of soundwaves in the ears. Exercise does not have to be intimidating adn involve intense workouts. You can increase your physical activity in simple ways including: taking a daily walk, stretching, and finding a physical activity you enjoy – biking, swimming, golfing, yoga etc.
- Maximize use of hearing aids. If you wear hearing aids, it is important to wear your hearing aids during waking hours. There are also ways you can get the most from your device including exploring different hearing aid technologies and features. This includes voice recognition, digital noise reduction, wireless connectivity, tinnitus management, and downloadable apps that allow you to easily manage settings. These features can further support your hearing health in everyday environments. Be sure to discuss your options with your hearing healthcare provider who can help identify the features that are optimal for you.
- Get hearing tested regularly. Another useful tip is to get your hearing tested regularly. Hearing tests involve a painless process that measures your hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment you could be experiencing. Even if you don’t have hearing loss, getting your hearing tested annually allows you to monitor your hearing health and intervene early if you experience changes over time.
This March is a great time to commit to your hearing health. Practicing these strategies supports your hearing health and wellness. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation!