March 3rd is World Hearing Day! The World Health Organization (WHO) organizes this global call to action to raise awareness about hearing loss and hearing health.
Hearing loss is the third most common medical condition that people experience today. Impacting over 48 million people, the prevalence of hearing loss is twice as common as diabetes or cancer. You can participate in World Hearing Day by practicing safety measures that protect your hearing health and wellness. Integrating the following tips for healthy hearing can reduce your risk of experiencing hearing loss:
- Wear hearing protection: One time or regular exposure to loud noise is a common cause of hearing loss. It is estimated that over 50 million people are regularly exposed to loud noises. An effective way to protect your hearing is by wearing hearing protection – headphones, earplugs, earmuffs etc. These items provide a protective barrier for the ears, reducing the amount of loud noise you absorb. Carrying these items so you can easily access them when moving through a noisy environment (commuting, work, construction site etc.) is a great way to mitigate the impact of loud noise exposure.
- Use noise canceling headphones: If you use headphones or earbuds regularly to listen to audio – like your factorie podcasts, music, or talking on the phone – you should consider investing in noise canceling headphones. Noise canceling technology is designed to minimize background noise. This prevents you from then having to increase the volume of your device when moving through environments that are noisier. Noise canceling headphones allow people to listen to audio safely in all environments.
- Maximize use of hearing aids: if you wear hearing aids, be sure to wear them during all waking hours. Hearing aids are essential items for people with hearing loss and though there may be a little bit of an adjustment period, wearing your hearing aids should be comfortable and easy. There are also ways you can maximize the use of your hearing aids like investing in features and technologies that would be optimal for your everyday life. This includes: digital noise reduction, voice recognition, tinnitus management, apps and accessories etc. Be sure to discuss these options with your hearing healthcare provider who can help you identify the features that would best support your hearing and lifestyle needs.
- Prioritize care for health conditions: extensive research shows that a number of medical conditions can increase the risk of developing hearing loss. This includes cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and osteoporosis. If you have any of these conditions or are prone to develop them, it is important to prioritize care for these health issues. You should be following any medication schedule and strategies outlined by your doctor.
- Boost intake of nutrients: studies also show that diet can impact hearing health. Research shows that practicing healthy dietary patterns can reduce the risk of hearing loss. There are specific nutrients that support healthy hearing including magnesium, potassium, zinc, and folate. These nutrients support the cells, nerves, and auditory pathways that are part of how we absorb and process sound. There are simple ways you can increase your intake of these nutrients including eating more vegetables and fruits.
- Increase physical activity: exercise offers numerous benefits including supporting healthy hearing. Exercise supports healthy blood flow throughout the body including the ears where sound waves are absorbed and processed. You can increase physical activity by taking a daily walk, stretching, and finding a physical activity you enjoy – biking, swimming, golfing etc.
- Get your hearing tested regularly: another useful tip is to have your hearing tested regularly. Hearing tests involve a painless and noninvasive process that measures your hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies any hearing loss and establishes what your hearing needs are. Getting your hearing tested annually allows you to monitor your hearing health and intervene early if you experience any changes over time. Even if you have diagnosed hearing loss, your hearing needs can also change over time which highlights the importance of regular hearing evaluations.
World Hearing Day is a great reminder to prioritize your hearing health and wellness. Practicing these strategies can protect your hearing and reduce your risk of experiencing hearing loss. Contact us today to learn more and to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation.