Whether you’ve noticed early signs of hearing loss or you’re concerned about losing your hearing, you can make some fairly simple lifestyle changes to protect your ability to hear. At Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus Center in Los Gatos, California, Dr. Philip T. Ho and his staff want you to enjoy excellent hearing for as long as possible. In this post we share eight tips to help you do that.
You already know that smoking is bad for your health, but you might not be aware that it can specifically affect your hearing. Studies show an association between smoking tobacco and hearing loss. Even if you don’t smoke yourself, you should be careful to avoid secondhand smoke.
Do you have heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, a thyroid disorder, or some other chronic health condition? Many chronic conditions are associated with an increased risk of hearing loss.
Managing your condition can help. For example, if you have diabetes, you should work to keep your glucose levels in a healthy range. If you have a heart condition, follow your doctor’s instructions closely and do what you can to improve your circulation.
When you have bloodwork done, do you consistently lack particular vitamins or minerals? If so, you may want to discuss supplements with your doctor. Some vitamins like vitamin B12 or potassium are essential for good hearing.
In some instances, dietary changes may provide the nutrients you need. However, taking supplements could be a solution for you, depending on your situation and health.
Knowing that you have a family history of hearing loss won’t prevent it from happening to you. But if you know your risk is higher than average, you can follow the tips here, as well as others Dr. Ho suggests specifically for you, to mitigate that risk.
Certain medications are called ototoxic drugs, which means that they can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, or other hearing issues. If you take medication regularly, whether it’s over-the-counter or prescription, talk to your doctor about potential side effects, including potential hearing loss.
Does it seem like exercise is the solution for everything? Regular physical activity promotes healthy blood flow, and healthy blood flow is essential for preserving your hearing. Plus, regular exercise can help you manage other chronic conditions and has well-documented mental health benefits.
Just as we all know that smoking is bad and exercise is good, most of us also know that chronic stress impacts your health negatively. Stress in itself isn’t bad, and serves an important evolutionary purpose, but stress day in and day out is bad for your hearing, among many other things.
The most important thing you can do to protect your hearing is to avoid noisy environments and use ear protection when you can’t. Earplugs and earmuffs are important tools in the work of preserving your hearing.
Even common sounds, such as lawn equipment or sirens, can lead to increased hearing loss. Sometimes, you can’t know you’re going to be exposed to loud noises, but if you know construction is happening next door, you can use earplugs. Get in the habit of keeping a pair handy.
Do you suspect you may already have lost some hearing? Call or message us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ho for an evaluation. Knowing if you have already lost some hearing can help you know how cautious you should be in protecting your hearing.