Hearing loss affects an estimated 19% of adult Canadians, representing 4.6 million individuals. While we cannot gain back the hearing that we lose, we can take action in order to ensure we keep our ears as healthy as possible. Reduce your risk of hearing loss by following the seven steps below.
1. Drink a Glass of Skim Milk Everyday
Milk is proven to keep your bones healthy. This is especially true for bones in your ear, specifically the cochlea. A study of 70 healthy women revealed that those with hearing loss had weaker bone strength than those with normal hearing. Ensuring that you regularly skim milk can help prevent hearing loss, particularly conductive hearing loss. Taking other steps to ensure the strength of your bones can help protect your hearing.
2. Sweet Potatoes, Vitamin A & Vitamin E
Sweet potatoes are a reliable source of vitamin A, a vitamin known to help your hearing. According to animal studies, a lack of vitamin A can increase the ear’s sensitivity to noise and increase the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. A further study from Vanderbilt University in Australia showed evidence that Vitamin A and Vitamin E supplements may reduce the prevalence of age-related hearing loss up to 47%. While more research into the matter is necessary, there are promising signs that these vitamins can help mitigate some of the risks of hearing loss.
3. Help Your Partner Stop Snoring
A night full of somebody’s heavy snoring could be damaging your ears. While the mean peak levels of snoring is usually between 50 and 65 dB, some individuals reach 80-90 dB. That’s like sleeping next to a vacuum cleaning on full power every night. Exposure to noise above 70 dB over a prolonged period of time can start to damage your hearing. If your partner snores loudly, you will want to help them stop to protect your own hearing. Try consulting with a doctor to come up with good remedies. In the meantime, maybe sleep in separate rooms.
4. Drive Safe – Avoid Collisions
There are many reasons to drive safely, not the least of which is to protect the passengers in your car as well as everyone outside of it. But driving safe not only protects your life, but also your ears. When an airbag deploys, it generates mean peak sound pressure levels of approximately 160 dB. British researchers have found that this deployment of an airbag can be loud enough to contribute to hearing loss. Sudden exposure to a 160 dB sound can cause permanent and severe hearing loss. Not surprisingly, head trauma is also a major cause of hearing loss.Driving safe is one way to ensure that your hearing is protected.
5. Make Sure to Eat Your Veggies
When researchers explored the connection between lifestyle factors and sudden deafness in 109 patients, they determined that those who consumed the most amount of vegetables were least likely to develop sudden deafness. Some other studies have shown an association with high folate food intake with a decreased risk of age-related hearing loss. High folate foods include spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils. While more research is needed to conclusively link higher vegetable intake with a reduction of hearing loss risk, there are many other health benefits which make it worthwhile.
6. Get a Doctor to Clean Out the Wax
Hearing loss can happen for a wide variety of reasons, including an excess of earwax. Your ear canal produces a waxy oil called cerumen which we call earwax. This protects our ears from dust, foreign particles, and microorganisms. Sometimes our glands make more earwax than necessary, which can get hard and block the ear canal leading to a loss of hearing. It is extremely important that you do not attempt to clean the earwax yourself. Sticking q-tips, fingers, or anything else into your ear can have serious and irreparable consequences for your hearing. A quick visit to the doctor or audiologist will help keep your ears healthy and your hearing sharp.
7. Don’t Listen to Headphones too Loudly
One of the most important things you can do to prevent hearing loss today is to avoid putting your headphones too loudly. If you’re blaring your head phones, you’re hurting your ears. While it may be fun to crank up that new album you bought, make sure you are not turning it up so loud that you are running your hearing. Listening to music too loudly can cause temporary or even permanent hearing loss. Experts recommend that you keep your music sound level between 60 and 85 decibels. Increasing the volume beyond this point can put your hearing health at risk.
Keeping your ears and hearing healthy is an important objective to ensure you do not experience hearing issues later. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure to protect your hearing as much as you possibly can. If you believe you have experienced hearing loss, contact us today. Our expert Audiologists and Registered Hearing Instrument Providers are here to help.