Habits To Help Your Hearing…
Hearing loss occurs when the hairs or nerve cells in the cochlea are damaged or missing. Not all types of hearing loss are preventable or reversible. However, there are steps you can take to lower your chances of developing age related hearing loss, or noise-induced hearing loss. The following ‘Habits To Help Your Hearing’ can be used to help prevent hearing loss, as well as preserving the hearing you do have if you already have hearing loss. It is never too early (or too late!) to start taking precautions to protect your hearing.
1. Manage Your Blood Pressure
If an individual has high blood pressure, the blood vessels are damaged all over the body. This includes the vessels that carry blood to the ears. If you have high blood pressure, follow your doctors advice to try to get it under control.
2. Stop Smoking & Limit Drinking
Many studies have consistently shown that exposure to cigarette smoke, directly, secondhand, or even in utero, can have a big impact on someone’s hearing health. This is because both nicotine and carbon monoxide lower oxygen blood levels and constrict blood vessels all over our body, including those in our inner ear responsible for maintaining hair cell health.
Drinking can have damaging effects to our hearing as well. Excessive drinking damages the auditory cortex in the brain, affecting the way your brain processes sound. Additionally, drinking creates a toxic environment in the inner ear which damages and destroys the hair cells. Because the damage to these hair cells is permanent, so to is the hearing loss. If that wasn’t bad enough, excessive drinking can lead to tinnitus and dizziness as well. Alcohol is absorbed into the fluid of the inner ear and stays there, which often gives people “the spins” after a night of heavy drinking. The tinnitus happens when the alcohol causes blood vessels to swell, resulting in greater blood flow within the inner ear.
3. Manage Diabetes
People with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss. Just as with high blood pressure, diabetes can damage the cells in your inner ears. Keep your blood sugar under control and follow your doctor’s orders for managing diabetes.
4. Exercise & Stress Reduction
As you age, inflammation can damage hair cells, nerve cells, and capillaries. This means your ears won’t be working as well, or even getting enough oxygen. When you exercise, your body is protected against age-related inflammation, and cardiovascular health is improved. Doing this keeps blood circulating throughout your body and your ears. Exercising every day improves hearing health, and protects against age-related hearing loss.
Stress can also lead to hearing loss. When you are constantly stressed, the body does not receive any signal to return to ‘normal’ like it usually would with acute stress. This can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other illnesses. In turn, these diseases can affect your hearing. Stress can also trigger a flare-up in tinnitus or make it harder to ignore via your normal habituation techniques. This means that trying to reduce stress is very important; the American Psychological Association list these five tips for reducing stress:
- Take a break
- Smile and laugh with friends and family
- Get social support
5. Getting The Right Vitamins
There are certain vitamins that are vital to our hearing health. For example, vitamin B12 deficiency may cause the damage of neurons in the cochlear nerve, resulting in hearing loss. Overall, it is advisable to have a healthy diet containing multiple vitamins to ensure good hearing health.
6. Reduce Risk Of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
No matter how healthy you are, or what age you are, you can still be at risk of damaging your hearing if you do not protect yourself in noisy environments. There are many sources that can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). For example, blasts like gunfire or fireworks can cause immediate hearing loss if you are close. Additionally, less explosive sounds, such as aeroplane engines, loud concerts, or even high-pitched dentist drills, still cause damage, just more slowly. One very common cause of NIHL that most people either forget or ignore is the use of earbuds and headphones. When these are used at full volume or for long periods of time, they can cause damage to your hearing as well. You can protect your hearing from NIHL by using specially designed custom earplugs that fit uniquely to your ears to block out loud sounds. To protect from lower levels such as earbuds and headphones, you can simply play it at a lower volume and for shorter periods of time.
7. Get A Hearing Test
Last but certainly not least, get your hearing tested! You wouldn’t hesitate to get your eyes tested or have a dental check-up, so don’t delay getting your hearing checked. After all, hearing loss is the most common sensory issue. Preventing hearing loss means being proactive in your hearing health. If your test indicates you already have some hearing loss, you can begin taking action to prevent it from getting worse. If you need hearing aids, your audiologist can discuss the best options for your hearing loss, lifestyle and budget. The earlier you notice any problems, the better you can be treated.
To book a hearing test, call today on 01223 360700 or click here!
We hope these ‘Habits To Help Your Hearing’ have helped you learn how to better protect your hearing!