An estimated 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. That’s a staggering number, but maybe one that’s not so surprising. Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions among Americans aged 65+ and is often looked at as simply a part of getting older. While we know that hearing loss can’t always be prevented, there are some ways you can help slow its progression.
Lower the Volume
This is perhaps the most obvious – simply turn it down! Whether you’re watching TV or listening to music, resist the urge the turn the volume up as loud as you used to. If you need to raise your voice when talking in order to be heard over it, it is probably too loud. Choose noise-cancelling headphones so you can listen at a lower volume than regular headphones that don’t block outside noise.
Doctors recommend roughly 2.5 hours of exercise per week for adults over 65. That can be split up any way you like, whether it’s 30 minutes per day, or a couple of long walks each week. Cardiovascular activity promotes better circulation which is important for keeping your blood moving to your organs, as well as to your ears, and has been shown to improve hearing.
If you can’t avoid loud noises, either because of work or if you are attending a loud event, wear ear protection like earplugs or ear muffs. Musicians wear earplugs that provide protection but don’t stifle sounds completely. Allow yourself a day or two of a quieter atmosphere after loud exposure to help your ears recover.
Your whole life, doctors have been telling you to take your vitamins and now your ears are joining in. There are a number of minerals we don’t always get enough of in our daily food that have a big impact on our hearing. Potassium, folic acid, magnesium, and zinc are all extremely beneficial for healthy hearing so talk with your doctor about adding these supplements into your diet.
…Another suggestion you may have been hearing from your doctor over the years! And you’re lucky you can still hear it because it’s well-established that smoking can have extremely negative effects on your hearing. Smoking constricts your blood vessels, leading to poor circulation, and cigarette smoke can even interfere with neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve. If you’re serious about preventing further hearing loss, it’s time to put down the cigarettes.
This month, consider making “Better Hearing Month” your reality and contact us today to book a hearing test. Our award-winning audiologists are passionate about improving your hearing and we guarantee you will have an enjoyable experience.
Dr. Megan Johnson is the owner and licensed audiologist at Johnson Audiology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Western Carolina University, a master’s degree in audiology from the University of Tennessee, and her doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida.