The new year is an exciting time! Many of us approach the new year as a fresh start and opportunity to kick off new goals. A great way to prioritize your health and wellness in the new year is by adding betterhing hearing to your health goals!
- Schedule a hearing test. Hearing tests involve a noninvasive and painless process that measures hearing capacities in both ears. Even if you do not suspect hearing loss, it is important to have your hearing evaluated regularly. This allows you to have a full picture of your hearing health which makes it easier to identify any changes you may experience over time. If you do have hearing loss, a hearing test will identify your hearing needs which is used to tailor treatment to meet those needs. Start your new year by having your hearing evaluated by a hearing healthcare specialist.
- Increase physical activity. Exercise offers many health benefits including supporting the immune system, increasing energy, and boosts blood flow. This supports the ears which absorb and process sound. Exercising doesn’t have to feel overwhelming and stressful to integrate into your life. There are simple ways you can increase physical activity including: taking a daily walk, stretching regularly, and finding a physical activity you enjoy – biking, golfing, water aerobics etc.
- Adjust diet. Eating healthy also provides a number of benefits including supporting hearing health. A significant study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School found that people following healthy dietary patterns were 30% less likely to develop hearing loss. These partners were rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and fish which offer a range of nutrients that support hearing health. This includes magnesium, folate, zinc, potassium, and Vitamin C. Integrate more of these foods in your everyday diet as well as decrease your intake of processed foods.
- Reduce loud noise exposure. Loud noise is a common cause of hearing loss. One time or consistent exposure to loud noise can cause noise induced hearing loss. It is estimated that over 22 million people are exposed to hazardous levels of noise in the workplace. Additionally, over 1 billion people worldwide are at high risk of noise induced hearing loss. This is completely preventable and practicing the following strategies can help protect your hearing health:
- Wear hearing protection: there are different types including headphones, earplugs, and earmuffs which provide a physical barrier for the ears. This reduces the amount of loud noise absorbed.
- Take breaks: the ears and brain work together to absorb and process sound which is always happening. Taking 5-10 minute listening breaks throughout the day provides time to rest and recuperate from this labor.
- Reduce exposure: additional ways you can reduce your exposure to loud noise is by maintaining low volume settings on your electronic devices (TV, speaker, phone etc.), taking alternate routes to avoid heavy traffic and construction sites, avoiding environments that are noisy and opting for quieter settings, using noise cancellation headphones etc.
- Quit smoking. Studies show that smoking can significantly increase the risk of developing hearing loss. Smokers can be more than twice as likely to develop hearing loss compared to nonsmokers. Experts suggest that nicotine, the active ingredient in cigarettes, can damage blood vessels and restrict blood flow. This includes in the inner ear which is where soundwaves are processed before being sent to the brain. This new year, set a goal to quit smoking which can protect your hearing health.
- Learn about hearing technologies. Hearing aids are the most common way hearing loss is treated. In addition to these hearing devices, there are other hearing technologies that support hearing health. This includes assistive hearing devices and hearing aid accessories which further strengthen hearing in everyday environments. Be sure to discuss these additional hearing technologies with your hearing healthcare provider to learn what you can most benefit from.
Integrating these practices in the new year is a great way to commit to your hearing health and wellness. Hearing health is a key facet of overall health and quality of life. Contact us to get started by scheduling an appointment for a hearing consultation. We look forward to learning and supporting your hearing needs in the new year!