Did you know that March 3rd is World Hearing Day? Launched by the World Health Organization (WHO), this global campaign raises awareness about hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of the most common medical conditions people experience today. But there are safety measures you can practice to protect your hearing health. This March is a great time to integrate the following healthy hearing habits:
- Wear Hearing Protection. Exposure to loud noise is a common cause of hearing loss. It is estimated that 50 million people are exposed to hazardous noise levels. Noise induced hearing loss is completely preventable and wearing hearing protection is an effective way to protect your ears. Hearing protection includes headphones, earbuds, earmuffs, and earplugs which provide a physical barrier that reduces the amount of loud noise you absorb.
- Use Noise Canceling Headphones. Headphones and earbuds are a common way people listen to audio – from listening to music, podcasts, and talking on the phone. If you use earbuds or headphones regularly, you may want to think about investing in noise canceling headphones. These types of headphones maximize noise canceling technology which is designed to reduce background noise. This prevents volume settings from being increased when moving through settings that are nosier, allowing people to listen to audio safely in all environments.
- Boost Intake of Nutrients. Studies show that diet can impact hearing health and that following healthy dietary patterns can reduce the risk of hearing loss. There are specific nutrients that support healthy hearing. This includes magnesium, potassium, zinc, and folate which support the health of cells, nerves, auditory pathways. These components are essential for absorbing and processing sound. You can increase your intake of these nutrients by eating more fruits, vegetables, and plant based foods.
- Increase Exercise. Exercise offers lots of health benefits including supporting hearing. Exercise supports healthy blood flow and circulation throughout the body and decreases health risks. This supports the ecosystem in the ears and the processing of soundwaves. You can increase physical activity in simple ways including: taking a daily walk, stretching, and engaging in a physical activity you enjoy – swimming, biking, golfing, yoga etc.
- Eliminate Triggers. Research shows that there are behavioral factors that can also contribute to hearing loss. This includes smoking and drinking which contain ingredients – alcohol and nicotine – that experts suggest can damage blood vessels and restrict blood flow in places like the ears. This can impact how soundwaves are absorbed and processed, contributing to the development of hearing loss. To support your hearing health, you can eliminate these triggers or reduce consumption as much as you can.
- Reduce Loud Noise Exposure. In addition to wearing hearing protection and using noise canceling headphones, there are several ways you can reduce your exposure to loud noise. This includes maintaining low volume settings on electronic devices, taking listening breaks throughout the day, avoiding traffic and construction sites by taking alternate routes, driving with the windows rolled up, and avoiding noisy places during peak hours by opting for quieter settings.
- Maximize Use of Hearing Aids. Hearing aids are essential items for millions of people with hearing loss. If you wear hearing aids, be sure to wear them during waking hours. There are also numerous technologies and features that can help you get the most out of your hearing aids. This includes digital noise reduction, voice recognition, tinnitus management, and wireless connectivity. Be sure to discuss these features with your hearing healthcare provider so you can identify the options that can be best for you.
- Prioritize Care for Medical Conditions. Extensive research shows that several medical conditions can increase the risk of hearing loss. This includes heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and diabetes. If you have any of these conditions, it is important that you prioritize care for them. This includes taking the medications prescribed by your doctor and following any recommended protocols and health regimens.
- Get Hearing Tested Regularly. Another useful strategy to protect your hearing health is by getting your hearing tested regularly. Integrating a hearing test in annual health check-ins allows you to track your hearing health. This enables you to intervene early if you experience any changes over time.
World Hearing Day is a great reminder to commit to your hearing health and wellness. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test!
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