Do you have trouble hearing the TV or phone conversations?
Rest assured you’re not alone. Nearly 52 percent of adults over the age of 50 have some degree of hearing loss, half of it severe enough to interfere with everyday activities.
New reports show that hearing loss can triple your risk of dementia, since the decrease in social interaction can deprive your mind of stimulation. Such isolation can also lead to depression, anxiety, foggy memory and even brain shrinkage.
While some hearing loss causes are beyond your control, The Post and Courier offers eight ways you can save your hearing today.
Keep ear plugs nearby
Make sure to keep ear plugs in your pocket, purse, car and toolbox. Exposure to noises louder than 85 decibels, like lawn mowers, rock concerts and video arcades, can damage the tiny hairs in your inner ear that convert sound waves into electrical signals. You should wear ear plugs while operating yard equipment, on airplanes, at concerts and sporting events and during loud movies. Don’t worry, you’ll still hear the dialogue.
One in three adults and three in five teens crank up the volume on portable music devices, endangering their hearing. Make sure to keep the volume set at 50 percent or less, so you can hear other sounds around you, and give your ears frequent breaks from your headphones.
Stop using cotton swabs
A common cause of temporary hearing loss, earwax forms on the outer third of the ear, but wax can get stuck deep inside when you use cotton swabs in your ear canal. Signs of wax blockage include an earache, fullness, muffled hearing or even itching. Either follow directions on wax-removal products or call your doctor for professional advice on wax removal.
Aim for healthy blood sugar
Diabetes sufferers are twice as likely to encounter hearing loss as those with normal blood sugar levels. If you have prediabetes, your hearing loss risk is about 30 percent higher. Experts speculation that the link could be glucose-related damage to the inner ear.
Lower your blood pressure
High blood pressure reduces the blood flow to your inner ear and brain areas linked to hearing.
Recognize early hearing loss signs
If you have trouble hearing on the phone or TV, you should consult a hearing specialist for tests. A recent survey of over 3,000 hearing loss sufferers discovered that hearing aid users were more socially active and had less depression and worry. Another study showed that hearing aid use improved cognitive function. Getting tested will determine the source of your hearing difficulties so you can select the correct hearing aid.
Check your medications
From ibuprofen to certain antibiotics, about 130 prescription and over-the-counter drugs can muffle hearing. However, hearing returns most of the time when you stop taking the medication.
Watch your weight
If you’re more than a few pounds over your ideal weight, your hearing loss risk is 17 to 25 percent higher than normal. Just two hours of walking per week could dramatically lower your risk of hearing loss.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!