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The New Year is a great time to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle. Knowing how to take care of your hearing can serve you well your whole life and protect your ears from excessive and unnecessary damage. Here are a few tips for prioritizing your hearing in the new year.
Pay attention to noise levels
Damage to your hearing happens gradually throughout your life, and minor hearing injuries eventually accumulate into significant hearing loss. Exposure to sounds over 85 decibels can lead to hearing damage. While a sound that registers at 85 decibels takes eight hours to cause damage, a sound that is 105 decibels can cause permanent damage to your hearing in under ten minutes.
Learn to recognize and limit your exposure to loud sounds. If you are a smartphone user, try a decibel meter app to monitor the actual volume of the loud sounds in your life. Everyday household noise like hairdryers, blenders, and lawnmowers may be best used with hearing protection. If you listen to music on headphones or earbuds, always play songs at a modest volume setting. Sounds delivered directly into your ear canal can do extra damage.
If you’re serious about preserving your hearing, protecting it around loud noise is essential. Carrying a small set of earplugs can help protect you from dangerous noise levels when they arise – from music concerts to a loud train commute.
If you are frequently around loud noise, you should get special protection for your ears, mainly if you hunt, shoot, or play a loud or amplified instrument. In cases where your workplace exposes you to sound levels over 85 decibels, OSHA requires that they also provide appropriate hearing protection to you during your workday.
Treat your hearing loss
People often wait far too long to deal with hearing issues, not knowing that waiting to seek treatment can worsen the condition. On average, people delay hearing treatment seven years from when they first notice hearing issues to when they seek treatment. In this time, hearing loss doesn’t just worsen, and it rewrites the way your brain processes sound. When your brain adjusts itself to fragmentary hearing, it is harder to understand sounds when hearing aids are introduced.
Don’t ignore the signs if you notice a change in your hearing or if specific environments are challenging to hear in. Changes and difficulty hearing indicate that something may be seriously wrong with your hearing, and it is time to set up a hearing exam. If you are a senior, this advice is doubly important. About one in every two people over age 65 have significant hearing loss, and your hearing system becomes more susceptible to damage as you age.
Your hearing system requires proper nourishment and circulation to function correctly. More and more studies are finding correlations between a lack of circulation and inner ear damage. A lack of nutrients in the blood can also affect how well our ears function.
Make sure you eat a balanced diet that includes your daily vitamins and minerals. Additionally, talk to your physician about your circulation and blood health. Conditions like anemia and heart disease can impact your hearing if they aren’t dealt with. Various medications can have a side effect of hearing damage, so if a medicine you are taking puts you at risk, talk with your physician about ways to minimize the impact.
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions, stopping smoking, is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Quitting smoking can also play a significant role in healthy hearing. Non-smokers have better circulation, which increases the performance and sensitivity of your hearing.
Test your hearing
The most thorough way to stay on top of your hearing health is to get a regular hearing exam. A hearing test helps identify hearing issues and possible causes.
Our team of specialists can help you understand your hearing better and find the best solutions for any hearing loss. Set up a hearing exam today to start the year off right and take the best possible care of your ears.