Five Simple Ways To Boost Your Hearing Health

Five Simple Ways To Boost Your Hearing Health

In a revealing study conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2021, respondents overwhelmingly recognized the importance of healthy hearing in regards to a vibrant life. However, that same group also reported an underwhelming record of hearing exams. 

Hearing loss is one of the leading chronic health conditions in the United States, with more than 30 million Americans living with the condition. But our cultural behaviors around hearing loss don’t promote the longevity of our hearing systems, nor do they support responsible listening practices. Here are five simple ways to boost your hearing health this year. 

Common Causes Of Hearing Loss

Cases of acquired hearing loss rise sharply as we age. One-third of people over the age of 65 have trouble hearing, while only a small percentage of them take steps to intervene. Age remains the greatest predictor of hearing loss because of the two main causes of cell degradation of the inner ear: aging and noise exposure. 

Both the natural aging process and exposure to excessive noise wear away at the health of the inner ear cells. These cells play a large role in the hearing process. It’s their job to receive noise from the external world, turn it into sound information (electrical signals) and send that information to the brain for processing. 

We are born with a finite number of inner ear cells and when our resources decrease, we have less cells to capture the full spectrum of sound around us. What results is gaps in the sound information that reaches our brain, a major reason that speech clarity is one of the first signs of hearing loss. 

We can’t reverse time or alter genetic predisposition that factors into whether we will acquire hearing loss in our lifetime. However, there are small steps to take that will boost hearing health and protect your future hearing.

Increase Your Intake Of Fruits And Vegetables

Studies show that people whose diets are higher in fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop age-related hearing loss. Citrus fruits contain folate (vitamin B9), which contribute to healthy red blood cells, like those that feed the structure of the inner ear. Bananas provide potassium to regulate fluids within the body. The fluids of the inner ear play an important role in the hearing process, so maintaining their balance is paramount. 

Leafy green vegetables, carrots and colorful bell peppers are a few vegetables that boost hearing health. Greens like spinach and broccoli are wonderful sources of folate, amplifying your blood cell production.

Eating more fruits and vegetables can be easy. You don’t have to become a vegetarian overnight or even change your current diet drastically. Focus on adding a fruit to your morning meal and a vegetable to your plate in the evening.

Start A Movement Routine

We know that hearing loss wrecks havoc on physical activity and mobility, eventually leading to a faster decline in physical health. If you’re currently living with hearing loss, moving for ten or twenty minutes per day can help to stave off loss of muscle mass and functional mobility, which can keep you living independently for a longer period of time. 

Moving more also improves cardiovascular health, so that the inner ear continues to receive oxygen-rich blood, prolonging current hearing health. You don’t need to do intense exercise or deadlift your bodyweight to reap the benefits. Choose something you like to do: swimming, walking, yoga, tai chi or dancing. Perform the movement for 10 minutes a day a few times a week. Continue on this path until it feels easy and like an established habit. If you’d like to bump up the intensity, duration or regularity —  great! If not, keep doing what feels manageable to you.

Keep Reasonable Volumes

We’re plugged into our devices more and more every day. Practice responsible personal listening practices every day to protect your hearing health and to model safe behaviors for the generations below you. 

Always keep your volumes at or below halfway and never exceed two-thirds of maximum.

Be Aware Of Your Noise Environment

Cultivate a habit of being aware of your noise environments. Excessive volumes can crop up anywhere: movie theaters, sporting events and live music concerts have all been shown to expose folks to unsafe volumes. 

Turn your smartphone into an audiometer by downloading an app that reads decibels volumes of your environment. Or simply notice the sensations of your ears. If it feels too loud, it probably is. Counteract extreme volumes by removing yourself to a quiet space for a few minutes to give your ears a break.

Schedule Regular Hearing Health Checks

One of the most productive ways to avoid future hearing problems is to get a read on your current hearing health. Experts advise people over the age of 18 to get hearing exams every ten years. Folks over 50 should schedule exams every three years, and people over 65 should have an annual exam. 

Of course, for those experiencing rapid or noticeable changes in hearing health, a consultation is advised as soon as possible. 

Visit our highly trained team for your next hearing exam!