How to Improve Hearing Health

Here’s the good news: In addition to the obvious — avoiding exposure to loud noises, buying the best ear buds for ear health, etc. — you can take positive steps to improve your hearing health in a variety of ways:

Eat Nutritious Foods

Here are some foods that have the nutrients that contribute to hearing health. Those nutrients and the associated foods are:

  • Folate – Leafy greens, beans: High folic consumption has been associated with a decreased risk of age-related loss of hearing. Eat more spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, kidney beans, etc.
  • Magnesium – Whole grains, dark chocolate, avocados: Magnesium can help to prevent and is often used in treating noise-induced hearing loss. Magnesium-rich foods include cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts.
  • Omega-3s – Fish, flaxseed and walnuts: The fatty acids in omega-3 can prevent or delay age-related hearing loss and reduce inflammation and the risk of dementia.
  • Potassium – Oranges, bananas and melons: The inner-ear fluids are critical for hearing health. Those fluids are rich in potassium. Eat a sweet fruit salad or baked potato, and you are adding just what your inner ear needs.
  • Vitamin B12-supplemented foods –Vitamin B12 can help fight chronic tinnitus. This vitamin is mostly available as an over-the-counter supplement or through eating animal products labeled as vitamin enriched as well as fortified breakfast cereals and milk.
  • Vitamin D – Eggs, mushrooms, eggs, fortified milk and cereals: Vitamin D helps fortify the bones, including the delicate bones of the inner ear.
  • Zinc – Seeds and nuts: Useful for prevention and treatment of sudden, unexplained hearing loss, zinc helps boost the body’s immune properties. It can prevent ear infections, which can to lead to eventual hearing loss.

Add More Oxygen to Your Blood

Cardiovascular fitness through the surgeon general-recommended 150 minutes of aerobic exercise is a key to better overall health. For hearing health, the increased blood flow aids in better nerve functioning in the cochlea and the processing ability of the brain – with side benefits of preventing dementia.

Protect Kids’ Hearing

Beyond eating heathy, you can also take steps to prevent hearing loss in kids including checking noise levels in your home, quieting appliances and providing hearing protection.

Some Hearing Loss Is Irreversible

The bad news is that noise-related hearing loss is often permanent. Once the sound-inducing cells in your inner ear are destroyed, they cannot regenerate.

So, the best way to prevent hearing loss is to avoid prolonged exposure to loud noises like jet engines, chainsaws, loud traffic — or anything that generates over 85 decibels. The Environmental Protection Agency safe noise level is 70 decibels, a level somewhere between normal conversation and the sound of a dishwasher.

So, if you notice a gradual or sudden loss of hearing, you should see an ear, nose and throat specialist and get the problem diagnosed. The loss may be irreversible, but your audiologist can keep it from getting worse and help you cope and adjust through treatment and medication.

Can Hearing Loss Cause Other Health Problems? (Spoiler Alert: Yes, It Can.)

There are other causes of hearing loss, such as excessive earwax buildup, problems in the ear canal, eardrum or the middle ear. Also, an ear infection, trauma, tumor or fluid can cause hearing loss.

Paul Farrell, an associate director of audiology for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, puts hearing loss into a deeper perspective: “We used to feel that hearing loss was (only) a loss of communication opportunity … but … there are much deeper cognitive and physical health implications.”

Those health problems are both psychological and physical. Hearing loss brings communication difficulties that isolate people, and the isolation brings depression and often an overall deterioration in health.

There are also links between hearing loss and reduction in brain function. One study posed the interesting hypothesis that when a person has to struggle to hear, the brain loses energy it needs in other areas. Finally, it could be that the social isolation resulting from hearing loss, along with the decreased sensory input, can lead to dementia.

Long-term exposure to noise is also linked to diabetes.

Finally, there is evidence that hearing loss can lead to a greater risk of falling. Farrell cites a study of 2,000 people who had hearing loss had a higher incidence of falling. Other speculation is that diabetes and heart disease are linked to loss of hearing because of their relationship to blood flow to the inner ear.

Get Tested, No Matter Your Age

Periodic hearing screening for both children and adults is important:

  • In children, audiologists can get to the source of what may seem like learning disabilities but are actually caused by hearing impairment.
  • Young adults are often exposed to damaging noises, and identifying the problem from an earlier baseline can correct potential social and career damaging problems.
  • For those past age 50, the loss in hearing could be so gradual that the sufferers may not realize why family members are becoming annoyed at their need to turn up the volume on the TV.
  • For seniors, it is important to have annual hearing tests. Often fitting and adjusting a hearing aid can greatly improve the life quality of the 50 percent of older Americans who have difficulty hearing.

Prevent Hearing Loss: Fortify and Insulate Your Home from Environmental Noise

Soundproof your existing windows and plug the annoying (and often harmful) noise leaks. Motorcycles screech at 110-152 decibels and trucks reach 75-85 decibels. Any volume over 70 decibels for prolonged periods is enough to begin to cause hearing harm.

Sun & Sound window inserts block can block high- and low-pitched traffic, construction and other street sounds. This can reduce low-pitched noise by up 75% and high-pitched noise up to 95%.

Imagine getting a good night’s sleep free from garbage truck, train, plane and emergency vehicle noise and preserve your hearing health.

Contact our home soundproofing experts today and get a free estimate.