One in three people over the age of 65 suffer from hearing loss and this number rises to one in two by the time this demographic is 75 or older. Hearing loss has many far reaching effects on mental, emotional, and physical health that go far beyond not being able to hear. Because age related hearing loss is the most common cause of hearing damage, many assume that hearing loss is inevitable with age. However, you can keep your hearing intact longer with certain active strategies. Because hearing loss can continue to get worse over time, in most cases, It is never too late to start protecting your hearing now.
Cover Your Ears
The position of our ears makes them more liable to damage. Especially if you engage in and enjoy recreational sports it is a good idea to cover your ears and wear impact protection, such as helmets. If you like to bike, boat, play ball, ski or ride a motorcycle, take the time to cover your ears.
Monitor the Decibel Level
Decibels are used to measure the level of sound and any sound over 85 decibels can start to damage the inner ear, causing permanent hearing damage. It is not just the level of sound, but the length. The louder the decibel level the less time it takes for damage to occur. Earplugs and protective headphones can reduce the decibel level by 15 – 33 dBA. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that 1 out of every 4 US workers have been repeatedly exposed to dangerous noise, and 14% of all workers have hearing loss due to noise.
It is now the responsibility of your workplace to provide hearing protection at no cost to you, but if you have been employed before this policy has been introduced the damage has already been done. Now it is up to you to wear hearing protection and make sure it is worn correctly to diminish decibel levels. However, this doesn’t only apply to work environments. Know the decibel level inside and outside of your home. Measure the decibel levels during your favorite loud hobbies, to see if your hearing is at risk. If it is, protect your years!
Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Your entire health is connected, and your ears are no exception. There are many chronic health conditions which can affect your hearing ability. Some of these include heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Many of these chronic health conditions damage hearing, because our ears rely on a healthy supply of oxygen rich blood, full of nutrients in order to stay healthy. When a diminished blood supply reaches your ears, it can damage the fragile cells of the inner ear, which deliver sound to the brain. Ensuring a healthy diet, free of processed foods, and rich in vegetables, minerals, whole grains and lean meats can keep your heart and blood healthy, which also protects your ears. Regular exercise also contributes to your entire body health, so be sure to add at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise to your daily routine.
Listen to Your Loved Ones
It is the people in our lives who notice our hearing loss before us. This is because they are the ones who notice when you don’t hear them or others. This can cause tension in relationships, alienating partners, family and friends. If someone close to you suggests you might have a hearing loss, it’s easy to get defensive. However, testing your hearing loss is a painless and easy experience.
Have Your Hearing Tested Annually
It isn’t always as obvious as we might suspect, when a hearing loss is in the early stages. This is because hearing loss can happen gradually, so it is easy to lose sound and not notice. However, even a mild case of hearing loss can affect relationships, earnings at work, confidence and mental health. The sooner you diagnose hearing loss, the sooner you can start to treat your hearing loss. Even if you don’t think you have hearing loss, have your hearing tested annually. Early detection and treatment can avoid so much unneeded stress and health concerns from developing.
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