As the saying goes, “new year, new you.” The beginning of the year is a time when we all make resolutions to better ourselves. There’s a long list to choose from: breaking bad habits, saving more money, losing weight, improving our diets, traveling more, or learning a new skill. But how often do we include managing our hearing health as one of our new year’s resolutions? It may seem like an insignificant resolution, but maintaining our hearing health is a simple way that can have a long-term impact on our lives.
Regardless if you are a seasoned hearing aid user or someone who has never gotten a hearing test, here are some tips you can take to improve your and your loved one’s hearing health for the New Year.
Be Proactive and Get Your Hearing Tested
The first step in treating hearing loss is being aware of the potential signs of hearing loss. If you often find yourself lost in the middle of group conversations or making extra efforts to hear what everyone around you is saying, that may be a sign of hearing loss. It’s recommended that you schedule an appointment with your hearing health professional for a more comprehensive check-up.
Even if you don’t notice any signs of hearing loss, it is still recommended that you schedule a hearing test annually. As with an annual physical, hearing health check-ups allow you to be proactive about identifying any potential issues to your hearing and be able to take preventative measures in addressing any sort of hearing loss.
Recognize the Noise Levels
It is important to be aware of the noise around you. Make sure you’re not exposing yourself to unsafe noise levels, whether it’s at work, while listening to music, or using everyday tools. Audiologists indicate 85 decibels or under being the accepted safe noise levels. Working around power tools or going to concerts or sporting events often exceed that limit, so wearing a pair of protective ear plugs in those settings reduce your chances of hearing loss.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), roughly 15 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Learning more about NIHL and safe exposure times is a good first step in preventing hearing loss.
Adjusting Diet and Lifestyle Habits
While the causes of hearing loss may be mostly associated with noise exposure, research also suggests that there is a link between one’s diet and lifestyle habits, and hearing health. Regulating what you eat can have an impact on more than just your weight. Vitamins in your daily diet can help preserve your hearing long-term and fend off acquired hearing loss conditions, and giving up smoking could benefit your ears as well as your lungs.
New research suggests smoking also has an impact on your hearing abilities. The study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research analyzed eight years of health data on more than 50,000 people in Japan and found that smokers were 1.2 to 1.6 times more likely to suffer hearing loss. The toxins in cigarettes can affect components of your middle ear, as well as the delicate hairs in the inner ear that transmit sound vibrations to the brain. The carcinogens from cigarettes can also damage the auditory processing nerves in your brain.
Encourage a Loved One to Get a Hearing Test or Hearing Aid This Year
We all know someone who is showing signs of hearing loss. We actually may know someone in our community that needs a hearing aid. This year, don’t just help yourself in taking care of your hearing health, but urge a loved one you know to get a hearing test or seek out a hearing health professional. Doing so will make our world ever more connected when another person is able to communicate effectively again, so provide the appropriate nudges and education.
Make an Appointment with Audibel
Whether you are a hearing aid user or someone who’s never gotten their hearing tested, make that appointment with Audibel to see one of our hearing health professionals for an annual hearing test. It’s not too late to make that New Year’s resolution! Start the new year off right in creating a path towards a healthy hearing year! Contact us today to schedule your hearing test!