5 Steps for Healthy Ears and Improved Hearing
Some things in life are simply priceless. Family, friends, reading a good book in the sun, and of course, your health.
We are well-versed in how to approach many aspects of our health and wellness. We know about the importance of a balanced diet, the benefits of heart-healthy exercise, we make the habit of brushing our teeth, and the list goes on. But did you know there are actually ways to keep your ears healthy and maintain optimal hearing? It’s true, and today we are going to share five steps to improve your hearing health.
1. Get Active
Physical activity is the way we keep our physique in good form, our heart healthy, our blood sugars at a good level, our blood pressure optimal, and our weight in check, but getting moving is also linked with maintaining a healthy circulatory system.
The circulatory system is responsible for circulating blood and lymph throughout the body, which courses throughout the heart, blood vessels, blood, lymphatic glands and vessels respectively. By getting up and moving, even with a leisurely walk, blood flow is promoted, circulation is improved, and that includes the blood flow that travels to the ears.
The small hairs in the ear, known as stereocilia, need clear blood flow to function and receive the signals required to send messages to the brain to process sounds. Stereocilia are non-regenerative, meaning when damaged or destroyed, our healing becomes impaired.
A 30-minute exercise period a day can help promote better health and better hearing! Choose from walking, running, swimming, hiking, cycling, or anything else that helps get your heart working and blood pumping! Your Audiologist or healthcare professional can help guide you to which activity can best suit your needs and your current health status.
2. Turn it down
A seemingly obvious way to help protect your ears and hearing health is to simply avoid stimuli that contribute to poor hearing health. While that is not always a possibility, there are other ways to help reduce the impact of that stimulus. For example, if you work in a field where you are exposed to loud, repetitive or enduring noises, it is best to consider the use of hearing protection such as earplugs or safety ear muffs.
It is recommended to avoid singular loud or prolonged sounds of 85 decibels or higher. This applies to power tools, small machinery, noisy vehicles, loud music, entertainment events, and more. The increase in decibel contributes to a greater probability of damage in a shorter time frame.
Noise exposure in consistent bouts or a significant loud burst event can lead to sensorineural hearing loss and long-term negative implications. Consider wearing hearing protection, whether cutting the lawn or attending a monster truck show.
Be mindful when watching tv or listening to music and keep it at a reasonable volume to help protect your hearing.
3. Quit Smoking
Let’s be honest– we all know that the use of tobacco products poses a hazard to our health. If the possibility of cancer, heart disease, sallow skin, and yellow teeth aren’t prohibitive enough for you, then consider this– a study out of the UK found a link between cigarette smoking and hearing impairment.
They concluded that “persistent smoking was associated with worse audiometric hearing and speech-in-noise perception.” The link was said to have similar negative effects firsthand, secondhand, and even in utero. Smoking is also said to impact ringing of the ears (tinnitus), vertigo, and general dizziness.
Since the nicotine found in cigarettes and the carbon monoxide that forms with burning tobacco can reduce blood-oxygen levels and cause vasoconstriction of the blood vessels, the vessels in the ear responsive to signal reception and transmission can also be affected.
This can result in neurotransmitter interference, ear infections, inner ear irritation, free radical release, and increased sensitivity to loud noise and hearing loss. The positive discovery was that cessation of smoking and tobacco products can reduce further chances of hearing damage and impairment going forward!
4. Practice Hearing
It may sound strange, but you can actually practice hearing and sharpen your skills with exercises designed to help you better process sound information, locate specific sounds, and force your brain to work on improving hearing through mentally stimulating activities.
- Sound Localization: This is the concept of knowing where a particular sound is coming from. If you’ve ever lost a ringing cell phone, you’re already practicing.While you attempt to source the sound and wade through the background noise, you are training your brain to listen for a specific sound location.
- Sound Focus: There are a number of ways to practice this. Meditation, mindfulness, competing sounds to select one to focus on, and the list goes on.The idea is to train your brain to concentrate and filter the chosen sound to to focus on one amidst the background noise.
- Stay sharp: Your ears receive the sound, but your brain needs to process the information coming in and make sense of it all. To keep your brain sharp, make time to complete word puzzles, play mentally stimulating games, and ensure to partake in cognitive challenges that keep your brain working!
The old saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
5. Get hearing aids — and wear them!
If you’ve been seeing a hearing specialist to check your hearing health and assess and detect any impairments, you may have been advised to purchase one or a pair of healing aids to help with sound reception.
The use of hearing aids can help with volume reception, sound clarity, and mental processing. Using them reduces the likelihood of increased damage and/or impairment. If you haven’t yet had a hearing test to assess the quality of your hearing, it’s time to book in to see one of our qualified specialists.
Hearing Solutions offers free hearing tests that are easy to book online and a wide catalogue of products to help your hearing if an impairment is detected. We offer sound advice that you can trust, and quality products that will change your life.
How to Improve Your Hearing With Hearing Aids
You can practice several healthy habits that can help prevent deteriorating hearing and improve the way you hear the world around you. However, in many cases, the best and most effective way to improve your hearing is by using assistive hearing devices such as hearing aids.
Without hearing aids, you may strain your hearing further, negatively impacting your hearing in the long run.
While hearing aids can be an adjustment, the positive effects on your hearing health are worthwhile. If you’re concerned you may be experiencing hearing loss and want to learn how to improve your hearing, our team of hearing specialists are happy to help. We can evaluate your hearing and recommend the best hearing device for your needs.
Garcia Morales, E. E., & et al. (2022, March 1). Association of Cigarette Smoking Patterns Over 30 Years With Audiometric Hearing Impairment and Speech-in-Noise Perception: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Pub Med. Retrieved May 9, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35084441/
Med-El (2014, April 14). 6 Ways to Practice Your Sound Localization. Retrieved May 9, 2023, from https://blog.medel.com/tips-tricks/tips-tricks-for-adults/6-ways-to-practice-your-sound-localization/
Clason, D. (2020, June 2). 5 ways to improve your hearing. Healthy Hearing. https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52534-Five-things-you-can-do-right-now-to-improve-your-hearing-health
Hearing, C. for B. (2019, August 2). 5 simple activities to improve your hearing health. The National Campaign for Better Hearing. https://campaignforbetterhearing.ca/2016/06/5-simple-activities-to-improve-your-hearing-health/
My Hearing. (2018, October 1). 6 ways to improve your hearing. My Hearing. https://my-hearing.com/2018/10/02/ways-improve-your-hearing/