The new year is a great time to prioritize your health and wellness. An effective way you can do this is by committing to better hearing. Practicing the following strategies in the new year can support healthy hearing:
- Schedule a hearing test. It is important to have your hearing assessed yearly. Integrating an annual hearing evaluation allows you to track your hearing health. This allows you to catch any changes you may experience and intervene early which can change the trajectory of your hearing health. Though 1 in 6 people have some degree of hearing loss, only a third of people who could benefit from treatment actually receive it. Contributing to this widespread undertreatment of hearing loss is that hearing health often remains untested.
In a study on hearing loss inaction published by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing
Association, researchers surveyed nearly 2,500 people and found that only 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 the importance of getting your hearing evaluated.
Hearing tests involve a painless process that measures hearing capacities in both ears.
This identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment you could be experiencing
which is then used to tailor treatment to meet your specific hearing needs.
- Maximize hearing aid use. Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. These devices are incredibly savvy, featuring a number of technologies that support hearing in everyday environments. Be sure to discuss hearing aid technologies and accessories that are available with your hearing healthcare provider. This includes wireless connectivity, digital noise reduction, voice recognition, tinnitus management, voice recognition and much more. These technologies sharpen sound quality, reduce background noise, and increase connectivity.
- Exercise. Exercise offers numerous health benefits including supporting healthy hearing. Exercise promotes healthy blood flow and circulation in the ears which is where sound is absorbed and processed. For many, exercise can seem daunting or overwhelming. But there are simple ways you can increase physical activity on a daily basis. A few ways you can do this include taking a daily walk, stretching, and discovering a physical activity you enjoy. Examples include biking, water aerobics, golfing, yoga etc.
- Adjust diet. Did you know that healthful eating also supports hearing health? There are studies that show healthy diets can reduce the risk of developing hearing loss. This includes a major study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School. Researchers evaluated 81,818 people and found that people following healthy dietary patterns were 30% less likely to develop hearing loss. These diets consist of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and fish which offer an abundance of nutrients that support healthy hearing. This includes magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate, and Vitamin C. Be sure to integrate more of these food groups and nutrients in the new year.
- Reduce noise exposure. Loud noise exposure is a common cause of hearing loss. One time or consistent exposure to loud noise can cause noise induced hearing loss. We are exposed to varying levels of noise daily. In fact, 22 million people are exposed to hazardous levels of noise in the workplace. Also, the World Health Organization estimates that over 1 billion people are at high risk for developing noise induced hearing loss.
Fortunately, this type of hearing loss is completely preventable. Practicing the following
safety measures in the new year can significantly protect your hearing health:
- Wear hearing protection: there are different forms of hearing protection including headphones, earplugs, and earmuffs. These items provide the ears with a physical barrier, reducing the amount of loud noise that is absorbed.
- Take listening breaks: the ears and brain are constantly processing sound throughout the day. Take 5-10 minute listening breaks where you power off sources of noise. This offers time for the auditory system to rest and recuperate.
- Avoid loud noise: other ways you can avoid loud noise exposure includes to maintain low volume settings on your electronic devices (TV, phone, speaker), avoid noisy environments like restaurants during peak hours, driving with the windows rolled up etc.
Practicing these safety measures in the new year is a useful way to prioritize your hearing health. Contact us to get started by scheduling an appointment for a hearing consultation!