Hearing is one of the most important senses because it allows you to understand and connect with the world around you. It also affects balance, coordination and speech, all of which are integral to living a healthy, abundant life. However, many people don’t appreciate their hearing until it’s gone, and there’s no guarantee they’ll get it back.
Take care of your hearing now and ensure plenty more years of concert-going with the following tips.
1. Discuss Medication Usage
Some medications are ototoxic, meaning they can damage your ear and cause hearing loss. These incidents are most common in older adults who take two or more such medications daily.
However, common medications like aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can also damage the cochlea in your inner ears and inhibit your ability to hear properly. Therefore, it’s important to consult your doctor before self-medicating, especially if you already deal with tinnitus or a similar hearing problem.
2. Ditch The Cotton Swabs
It might feel good, but cleaning your ears with cotton swabs can push wax deeper into your ear and muffle your hearing. If you stick them too far in, you could even damage your eardrum and cause an infection or permanent hearing loss. Play it safe by using a washcloth to clean your ears instead. Add a few drops of baby oil or hydrogen peroxide to soften the wax and minimize buildup in the long run.
3. Limit Noise Exposure
Noise-induced hearing loss is a common occupational disease that affects roughly 1.3 billion people worldwide. However, these incidents are largely preventable, especially if you limit noise exposure by taking frequent breaks and giving your ears time to recover. Typically, hearing loss occurs with repeated eight-hour exposures of 85 decibels. However, shorter exposures at higher decibels can be just as harmful, if not more so. Therefore, you must be mindful in loud environments and take necessary precautions to prevent hearing loss.
4. Wear Hearing Protection
Hearing protection can also limit noise exposure in loud settings. If you don’t mind the feeling of earplugs, opt for foam or premolded, reusable plugs to seal the ear canal and protect your eardrums. Earmuffs are also effective and come in many models designed to fit most people. Still, the best hearing protector is one that’s comfortable and convenient enough to wear whenever you’re entering an especially noisy environment.
5. Keep Your Ears Dry
Sometimes, water will get into your ear while swimming or bathing. This excess moisture allows bacteria to more easily enter your ear canal and, if you don’t get it out, cause an infection that inhibits your hearing — or worse. Use a towel to gently dry your ears or tilt your head to drain the water. Taking preventive measures by wearing swimmer’s earplugs can also protect your hearing.
6. Get Your Blood Pumping
Exercise is beneficial for practically every part of your body, but did you know that it’s also good for your ears? Cardio-intensive movements like walking, running, cycling and jumping elevate your heart rate and get your blood pumping. This oxygen-rich blood travels to every inch of your body, including your ears, so they keep functioning at their highest capacity. The more often you work out, the healthier your hearing will be, so get up and get moving.
7. Manage Stress Levels
Stress and anxiety wreak havoc on your body and have been linked to ringing in the ears and hearing loss. If you’re looking for another reason to practice self-care, this is it. Keep your adrenaline level low and calm your stress response with mind-body practices like meditation and yoga. Treat yourself to a bath or a few peaceful moments outside. Your ears deserve it.
An Ounce Of Prevention
You know what they say — an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Once your hearing is gone, there’s usually no getting it back. Therefore, you must protect your ears at all costs. If you take necessary precautions and get regular checkups, you’ll likely enjoy music, birdsong, podcasts and more for many years to come.