Each January, millions of people across the country and around the world make new year’s resolutions for better health from losing weight to exercising more to taking more time for themselves. This year, why not make resolutions for hearing health?
Hearing is precious and caring for it is an often-overlooked part of self-care. Hearing loss itself cannot always be prevented, but it can be minimized. If you’re serious about caring for your hearing and preventing hearing loss, these resolutions for hearing health can help get you started in the new year.
Get A Hearing Evaluation
If you haven’t had a hearing test or it’s been a while, start the year fresh by visiting your hearing health care provider for a comprehensive evaluation. These tests can determine if you have hearing loss, the extent, and type of hearing loss and provide a baseline for your hearing professional to help you prevent further hearing loss with hearing aid recommendations, uncovering hidden reasons for hearing loss and smart lifestyle suggestions.
Protect Your Hearing Against Noise
Noise-induced hearing loss is more common than many people realize. Any noise over 85 decibels, especially when you are exposed over a longer period of time, can pose a risk to your hearing. Here are some examples of common noises and their decibel levels:
- Rustling leaves – 20 dB
- Conversational speech – 60 dB
- Food processor – 95 dB
- Balloon popping – 125 dB
This year, resolve to protect your hearing with devices such as earplugs and noise-canceling headphones whenever you are exposed to loud noises to help prevent noise-induced hearing loss now and in the future.
Commit To A Healthier Lifestyle
This may sound like some of the more common resolutions heard around the new year, but it is also vital to healthy hearing. A healthy diet isn’t the only thing that can help support your hearing health either. Cardio exercise also plays an important role in maintaining hearing.
Research indicates a hard to deny link between heart health and hearing. One of the larger studies on the topic looked at diet, the incidence of heart disease, and hearing ability across various populations and age groups. The data, again and again, reinforced the theory that heart health and blood flow, not just age and exposure to noise, plays a role in hearing loss. If you haven’t already, get moving with regular walking and heart-pumping exercise. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes five times per week to reap the rewards.
Know Your Medicine Cabinet
While medications can play an important role in maintaining health, resolving illness, and relieving pain, many have also been linked to hearing loss. Aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen are common examples of ototoxic medications, those that “cause functional impairment and cellular degeneration of the tissues of the inner ear.” These include the regularly used, over-the-counter pain and inflammation reducers, as well as:
- Certain antibiotics (aminoglycoside antibiotics such as Streptomycin)
- Chemotherapy drugs (Cisplatin, Carboplatin, etc.)
- Loop diuretics (Lasix, ethacrynic acid)
This year resolve to work with your physician and hearing healthcare provider to identify medications that may be affecting your hearing health. Always follow dosage recommendations for these and all medications to reduce your risk of hearing damage.
Make this year the year you commit to healthier hearing with resolutions like these. Start small, celebrate your successes, and keep your hearing healthy for years to come.