As people age, the ears naturally become more prone to damage. Even if you are not experiencing hearing loss, you notice that your ability to hear changes as time goes by. Hearing loss may be caused by several factors such as generics, prolonged exposure to loud noises, or a medical condition.
The good thing is that there are several things that one can do to protect and improve hearing as age comes through. Let’s look at nine ways to do this.
1. Wear Earplugs
Earplugs, also called hearing protection, help to protect the ears. Before purchasing earplugs, it is important to ask your doctor how you will use them. For example, if you are going to be shooting guns or attending noisy parties, it is best to use earplugs specifically designed for shooting and those that block out excessive noise.
If you work in a loud environment like construction or industry and do not wear ear protection all day long, then it may be best to use earplugs at night when you rest. In addition, if you wear hearing aids, be sure that these are compatible with your chosen type of earplug, as this can make a difference in sound quality and fit.
2. Get Hearing Aids
Hearing aids improve hearing by amplifying sounds so that they can be heard clearly. Unlike regular headphones, which produce bass-heavy sound, the best hearing aids produce high-quality sound with minimum distortion from amplification.
If you wear aids, it is crucial to keep them clean. You can treat them with the best hearing aid cleanser, as soiled hearing aids can make the sound more muffled, decrease the sound quality and even cause hearing loss.
3. Stop Smoking
Smoking can cause a lot of damage to your teeth, gums, and hearing, especially in old age. Smoking is also known to harm the eardrum, which can lead to tinnitus. Even if you have not smoked for a long time, it is important to remember that ‘the longer you leave the cigarette in your mouth, the more damage it does to your hearing’.
It also increases the risk of ear infections. To protect yourself from this, you need to get started by reducing smoking. Within no time, you should be able to stop completely.
4. Consume Healthy Foods
Hearing loss can be caused by several factors. These include lifestyle choices, preventable diseases and even genetics. If you want to avoid hearing loss altogether, you need to consume more healthy foods in your diet.
Consuming nutrients such as lycopene, vitamin B12, folate and high amounts of antioxidants can help to prevent the damage that loud sounds can cause.
5. Turn down the Volume on Your TV
If you have a TV with a loud sound system, turn it down so that the volume is not too much. Many people have TVs that are too loud, which can lead to hearing loss over time and damage your hearing from the reverberations.
If you are watching a movie or listening to music, try to keep the volume under 50 or, in some cases, even under 40. You should also be careful about playing music through a sound system because even though it has been filtered, this can still cause damage.
6. Avoid Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)
Repetitive strain injuries occur when you perform specific tasks repeatedly, and muscle tension arises. This can lead to pain in your hands or wrists and upper body, including your ears. RSI happens when you press buttons on your computer mouse or work at your desk repetitively, which leads to muscle tension in your fingers and wrists, which can be unbearable for some people.
This could also affect your hearing over time. To enhance your health and protect your ears, try to avoid repeated hand movements for about 30 minutes every day.
7. Exercise Adequately to Improve Your Hearing
Regular exercise is an effective way to maintain healthy hearing. Regular exercise can help prevent hearing loss, especially the one that stems from noise exposure and ageing. Exercise releases endorphins which are hormones produced in the brain to help you feel better physically and mentally.
This helps your body retain more oxygen so that oxygen can be delivered to your brain to improve mental health and assist with memory, mood and concentration.
8. Schedule a Hearing Evaluation
Have you noticed a change in your hearing? Well, you need a hearing assessment. This is a hearing assessment performed by an ENT specialist in the audiology department. It is important to get a hearing evaluation when your hearing is stable, like dental checkups.
A normal assessment typically lasts 20 minutes and may include a medical history, audiometry test, pure tone audiometry test, speech discrimination testing and one or two speech tests. All these are standard procedures to help you identify any problems with your hearing.
If there are any issues, the doctor will give you a referral so you can handle the issues as soon as possible. By monitoring your hearing throughout, you can help prevent escalations.
9. Visually Monitor Your Hearing Environment
You should always try to make sure that you are not exposed to noise as much as possible and that you are not exposed to repeated loud sounds for long periods. Hearing protection devices can help reduce noise exposure to sound levels equivalent to about 150-200 decibels. Some of the most popular devices you can use include earplugs and earmuffs. You can find them in most online stores.
Hearing is one of the most important senses we have. In addition to helping us listen to sounds, our hearing keeps us safe by warning us of danger and coaches us in social situations.
With advancing age, our ears’ ability to hear gradually diminishes. As we get older, age-related hearing loss (ARHL) slowly creeps upon us, gradually eating away at our ability to hear.
Fortunately, the above-discussed ways can help avoid or lessen the effects of ARHL. Most of them are simple steps you can take, while others are lifestyle changes. You can easily employ them one at a time, so you are not overwhelmed.