Keep Your Hearing Sharp with These 9 Exercises
There is nothing worse than straining to hear a friend talk at lunch, missing important details at work or not hearing your family tell you they love you. Hearing what is going on around you is essential for your overall wellbeing.
If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, start now to learn what you can do to slow and minimize any further damage to your hearing. If you haven’t been diagnosed with hearing loss, it’s a good idea to proactively prevent or minimize it in the first place. Preserving your hearing is something you won’t regret!
Preventing Hearing Loss on Your Own
There are several things you can do on your own to keep your hearing sharp before, or even while you’re receiving treatment from a hearing specialist. These may include:
- Wearing Your Hearing Aids – If you have been prescribed hearing aids from your hearing specialist it’s important to actually wear them. With hearing aids, your ears are given a “boost” to hear better and more clearly and then the brain is allowed to continue processing these sounds. By keeping your brain active in this way, you can actually help avoid the effects of depression, anxiety and even dementia. Kind of killing two birds with one stone, right?
- Take a Walk and Get Outside – People that have been diagnosed with hearing loss and do not wear their hearing aids have been shown to be less active and in worse overall health than those that do. When you are not able to hear your surroundings, it can be scary or worrisome to leave your home. Going on a simple walk each day outdoors, dramatically improve your overall health, including your mental health.
Take a simple walk around to improve your balance and cardiovascular health too. Did you know that hearing loss has been shown to affect both? If you feel you could fall while walking, start small and make sure you are somewhere safe and with someone that can help you. Talk to your doctor about the risks versus benefits before beginning.
- Take Your Vitamins – Improved hearing has been connected to a few vitamins and minerals.
- Folic acid encourages the proper flow and energy creation in the cells of the ear responsible for hearing.
- B vitamins helps your ears regulate fluid and utilize oxygen better.
- Magnesium helps with healthy nerve function in the ears.
- Zinc provides support to your entire body’s immune system as well as keeps the hair cells in your ear safe. These hair cells are important, as they send out signals to your brain when they pick up vibrations around you.
- Stop Smoking! – Not only will your overall health benefit from reducing or quitting smoking, but your hearing can also benefit quite a bit too. Research shows that smoking can actually more than double your chances of hearing loss.
Smoking affects your ears and hearing in several different ways. Nicotine and carbon monoxide block important blood flow and oxygen that is essential in healthy ears. The function of your ears are also impeded by smoking. The lining of your middle ear is irritated and there can also be neurotransmitters hindered which are the message carriers from your ears to your brain.
- Keep the Volume Down – By far the best and easiest way to prevent hearing loss is to decrease the sound and volume of your surroundings. Millions of Americans have hearing loss due to exposure to sounds and noises around them.
This is completely preventable, however. Work hard to protect your hearing and control the environment around you whenever possible. This means moving away from loud noises, wearing hearing protection and avoiding extremely loud sounds altogether (85 decibels or louder).
Don’t forget to protect young children around you from those loud sounds too. They may be too little to know how to do it themselves.
- Remove Excess Ear Wax – A certain amount of ear wax is normal. It is needed to help protect the inside of your ear from any unwanted elements. When you have excess buildup though, it can become a major problem and really interfere with your everyday hearing.
If you think this could be a problem you may be having, talk with your doctor about removing it for you. Ear wax removal is a simple procedure in your doctor’s office that can really help. Never try to get earwax out yourself. You can accidently push the wax farther into your ear which can cause damage to your ear canal or eardrum.
- Keep Your Ears Dry – Too much moisture can bring unwanted bacteria which can enter the ear canal and attack it. This can cause swimmer’s ear or other unwanted ear infections. These can lead to hearing loss if not properly treated.
Try gently coaxing out the water after swimming or showering by tilting your head from side to side and pulling on your ear lobe lightly.
- Manage That Stress! – Easier said than done, right? Stress and anxiety seem to impact your entire body in different ways. When it comes to hearing, it has been linked to tinnitus (ringing in the ears) both temporarily and permanently. Your bodies fight or flight response to stress and anxiety has shown to put pressure on your nerves, blood flow and more. This stress is believed to travel to your inner ear and add to tinnitus symptoms.
- Get Your Hearing Tested – Don’t be afraid to simply get your ears tested. Although you can’t turn back time or reverse hearing loss, you can prevent it from going further and getting worse. By getting your hearing tested early, your hearing specialist can monitor your hearing (or hearing loss) from an established baseline and then be able to alert you if things start to change. The simple lifestyle changes mentioned above can have important benefits, but early detection is imperative, so make sure to get your hearing checked each year if possible.
Contact our team at Fairfax Hearing Center for more information or to schedule a hearing test and consultation.