5 ways to improve your hearing health
The first months of a new year always seem to focus on health, and for good reason. After the indulgence of the holiday season, it’s a great time to try and adopt some healthy habits in all areas.
When it comes hearing health, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to make sure we have regular evaluations with a professional, just like we do for our eyes, our teeth, and the rest of our body. But did you know there are also some specific (and fun!) activities you can do on your own to help improve your hearing?
Here are 5 great ways to “exercise” your ears!
Play some (brain) games
Keeping your brain fit has been shown to reduce your risk of hearing loss… and even improve your hearing. One way to get your brain juices flowing is to engage in certain types of puzzles and games, such as crossword puzzles, Sudoko, bingo and card games. Nowadays, there are also plenty of apps you can use to exercise your mind, like Luminosity and Happify.
Meditation has countless health benefits. One is its ability to improve brain functioning, which is where most sound recognition occurs. Learning to focus our attention and sustain it improves concentration. And quieting your mind can regulate your blood pressure and flow - both our ability to concentrate and having healthy blood flow are integral to how we hear.
Supplement with vitamins
There are four major vitamins and minerals that can directly impact our hearing health: potassium, folic acid, magnesium and zinc. Potassium helps regulate fluid in your blood and body tissue; folic acid aids your body in generating new growth; magnesium keeps your blood vessels open for good oxygen flow; zinc boosts your immune system and helps ward off the common cold. And while vitamin supplements are great, you can try getting these nutrients right from your food, in your favorite recipes.
Get daily exercise
Exercise increases the blood flow to the inner ear, which is where sound vibrations are converted into nerve impulses. But you don’t need to invest in a gym membership to get beneficial exercise every day. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Medicine concluded that those who walked an average of just two hours each week (that’s less than 20 minutes a day) displayed a reduced risk of hearing loss. If walking isn’t your thing, think about the activities you enjoy - gardening, golfing, playing with the grandkids… they all count. :-)
Wear your hearing aids
Really. Wearing your hearing device as recommended provides the boost your ears need to sound waves to your brain. If that process isn’t functioning optimally (because you aren’t wearing your hearing aid), your brain can atrophy. In addition to keeping your brain healthy, your general health benefits when you wear your hearing aid. Research has shown improved functioning in several areas, including energy level and overall mood.