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Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 people have some degree of hearing loss? Though hearing loss is the third most common medical condition that people live with today, it is widely underrecognized. Over 48 million people have hearing loss which reduces capacity to hear and process speech as well as sound. Hearing loss not only strains hearing and communication but it can take a toll on relationships, social life, and overall health. Practicing ways to protect your hearing health is a great way to reduce your risk of hearing loss. Implementing the following healthy hearing habits can help you prioritize and protect your hearing health and wellness.
- Wear hearing protection: it is estimated that over 30 million people are regularly exposed to hazardous noise levels on a regular basis. Exposure to excessive noise can cause noise induced hearing loss, a permanent type of hearing loss. An effective way to protect your hearing from loud noise exposure is by wearing hearing protection. There are different types of hearing protection including ear plugs, headphones, earbuds, and earmuffs which offer a physical barrier for the ears; reducing the amount of loud noise that you absorb. It is important to wear hearing protection when navigating spaces that are noisier – concerts, commuting, on airplanes, at work etc.
- Invest in noise cancellation: earbuds and headphones have become common ways people listen to audio – podcasts, music, talking on the phone etc. While they do make listening to audio convenient, they are also a common way people are exposed to loud noise. If you regularly use earbuds or headphones, you can likely benefit from noise canceling headphones. Noise canceling technology is designed to reduce background noise. This prevents people from turning up the volume while moving through noisier settings, allowing people to listen to audio safely in all environments.
- Reduce loud noise exposure: in addition to wearing hearing protection and investing in noise canceling headphones, there are more ways you can reduce your exposure to loud noise. This includes: maintaining low volume settings on your electronic devices, avoiding noisy settings like busy restaurants (especially during peak hours), taking listening breaks throughout the day, taking alternate routes to avoid construction sites or traffic etc.
- Boost nutrient intake: studies show that there is a link between healthy dietary patterns and hearing health. There are several nutrients that support healthy hearing including: magnesium, potassium, vitamins D and C, folic acid and more. These nutrients support healthy blood flow, cells, and nerve pathways which are all components of the auditory system – the sensory system for hearing. Fruits and vegetables are rich in these nutrients so increasing your intake of these plant based foods is a great way to support your hearing health.
- Increase physical activity: exercise offers numerous benefits and among them is supporting hearing health. Exercise supports healthy blood flow throughout the body including the ears where sound is processed. It also decreases a number of health risks, some of which are linked to hearing loss. Increasing physical activity can be as simple as taking a daily walk, stretching regularly, or finding a physical activity you enjoy – biking, water aerobics, golf etc.
- Eliminate triggers: substantial research shows that there are various factors that can increase the risk of developing hearing loss. This includes smoking and drinking which studies show is correlated to hearing loss. Experts suggest that nicotine and alcohol can damage blood vessels and restrict blood flow throughout the body including the ears. This can impact how sound is absorbed and processed, contributing to hearing loss. Reducing consumption or completely eliminating these triggers is a useful way to protect hearing health.
- Test hearing regularly: another great way to protect your hearing health is by having your hearing assessed regularly. Getting your hearing tested annually allows you to monitor your hearing health. This enables you to catch any changes you may experience over time early on, supporting early intervention which can significantly support your hearing health. Hearing tests are painless and noninvasive!
Practicing these healthy habits can protect your hearing health and wellness. Implementing safety measures can help prevent the development of hearing loss. To learn more about the resources and services available to support you, contact us today.