What better time than the New Year to commit to your hearing health? Integrating the following practices in the new year are ways you can support your hearing health and wellness:
- Schedule a hearing test. Even if you do not suspect hearing loss or don’t think you have any symptoms, it is still important and useful to have your hearing tested regularly. In the same way that vision tests allow you to track your vision, hearing tests allow you to monitor your hearing health. Hearing tests are conducted by hearing healthcare specialists and involve a painless process that measures hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment in each ear. Hearing tests are able to detect even the slightest changes to your hearing, allowing you to intervene early.
This non invasive process identifies your hearing needs, allowing your hearing
healthcare provider to tailor treatment to meet those needs. If hearing loss is not
detected, a hearing test establishes a baseline of your hearing health. This allows you to
easily track if any changes happen over time.
- Maximize hearing aid use. Hearing aids are the most common way hearing loss is treated. These hearing devices are designed to absorb, amplify, and process speech as well as sound. This alleviates symptoms and maximizes hearing capacity. If you already have hearing aids, take them in to be professionally serviced in the new year! This allows your device to receive a thorough cleaning and inspection from a specialist who can also check that your hearing aids are performing optimally. Professional servicing contributes to the longevity of your hearing aids and ensures they are still meeting your hearing needs.
- Increase physical activity. In addition to the many health benefits of exercise, did you know that exercise also supports healthy hearing? Exercise promotes healthy blood flow through the body including the inner ears where sound is processed. There are simple ways you can increase physical activity in the new year including: taking a daily walk, stretching, and finding an activity you enjoy – biking, water aerobics, golfing, swimming etc.
- Reduce loud noise exposure. Loud noise is a common cause of hearing loss. One time or consistent exposure to excessive noise can cause noise induced hearing loss. It is estimated that over 22 million people are exposed to loud noise in the workplace. Additionally, over 1 billion people globally are at risk of noise induced hearing loss from loud noise exposure in recreational spaces as well as from personal listening devices. This type of hearing loss is completely preventable so practicing safety measures is important. This includes:
- Wearing hearing protection. This includes headphones, earplugs, and earmuffs which reduce the amount of loud noise you absorb.
- Take listening breaks. Taking 5-10 minute listening breaks throughout the day gives your ears and brain a break from constantly absorbing and processing sound.
- Lower volume: be sure to lower volume settings on electronic devices like the TV, speaker, phone etc.
Additional tips include to avoid noisy settings, drive with the windows rolled up to
reduce environmental noise, and power off any noisy appliances you are not using.
- Make dietary adjustments. Extensive research shows that what you eat can also impact hearing health. Studies highlight that eating healthful diets can support hearing. This includes a major study by researchers at Harvard Medical School. Researchers found that people following healthy dietary patterns were 30% less likely to develop hearing loss. This includes increased intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and fish. These foods offer numerous nutrients that support hearing health. This includes: magnesium, potassium, folate, and vitamin C. You can integrate more of these foods and nutrients into your everyday diet in the new year!
- Quit smoking. Studies show that smokers can be significantly more likely to develop hearing loss compared to non-smokers. Experts suggest that nicotine, the active ingredient in cigarettes, can damage blood vessels and blood flow. This can reduce the capacity for sound to be absorbed and processed effectively, contributing to hearing loss. Quitting smoking provides many health benefits including improving your hearing health.
Practicing these safety measures in the new year is a great way to prioritize your hearing health and wellness. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!