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5 Lifestyle Habits for Preventing Hearing Loss

Jan 19, 2024
5 Lifestyle Habits for Preventing Hearing Loss
Worried about protecting your hearing? With over 15% of Americans dealing with hearing loss, you have good reason! Keep reading to learn the key daily habits to adopt to keep your ears in tip-top shape.

Did you know over 40 million American adults struggle with their hearing? While some types of hearing loss can develop regardless of the steps you take to prevent it, the good news is that lifestyle habits can stop or slow age-related hearing loss from developing. 

At Advanced Specialty Associates in St. Paul and Baxter, Minnesota, our board-certified ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physicians provide advice to patients of all ages on how to maintain optimal ear and hearing health. 

Keep reading for our top tips for preventing hearing loss and the ways we can help you hear your best.   

1. Turn down the volume

While it's tempting to crank up the volume on your earphones during your morning run or commute, if you want to prevent hearing loss, it's essential to resist. Prolonged exposure to loud sounds, especially through earbuds, can cause noise-induced hearing loss. 

Keep the volume at or below 60% of the maximum and take breaks. For example, after an hour of listening, give your ears a 10-minute break. By practicing this, you not only protect your hearing but also enjoy your music better, as you're less likely to experience listener fatigue.

2. Use hearing protection

Whether it’s a rock concert, a construction site, or even mowing the lawn, loud noises are everywhere. When you’re exposed to these loud noises, it’s critical to invest in quality ear protection, like noise-canceling earplugs, if you want to protect your hearing. 

Even being exposed to loud noises like these once can cause hearing loss, as the sound can damage the delicate cells and membranes in your inner ear. And if you’re frequently exposed to these types of noises, it can cause additional damage. 

In addition to wearing protective covers when attending events with amplified sound, try to stay away from speakers. Remember, the longer you're exposed to loud sounds, the higher the risk of hearing damage. So, always have some ear protection handy.

3. Avoid ototoxic medications

Did you know certain medications can harm your inner ear, resulting in temporary or permanent hearing loss? These are called ototoxic medications, so if you take medicine, check with your provider to understand potential side effects related to hearing. 

In addition, always tell your health care provider right away if you notice any change in your hearing after starting a new medication. They can help adjust the dosage or suggest an alternative.

4. Keep your ears dry

Excess moisture creates a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to ear infections which might damage your ear's inner workings. After swimming or showering, tilt your head to each side and gently pull on the earlobe to remove any trapped water. 

If you're a frequent swimmer, consider using custom-fitted swimmer's earplugs to prevent water from entering the ear canal. Talk to your Advanced Specialty Associates provider for more tips about keeping your ears dry. 

5. Stay active and eat healthy

It may come as a surprise to see exercise and diet listed as a way to prevent hearing loss, but good circulation plays an important role in maintaining good ear health. 

Regular exercise, like walking or cycling, ensures better blood flow to all body parts, including the ears. Combine this with a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and you're setting yourself up for healthier hearing in the long run.

Consult a specialist for personalized advice

While these habits are foundational in preventing hearing loss, everyone’s needs are different and hearing loss can occur despite best efforts. If you ever notice signs of hearing loss, such as muffled sounds or difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise, don't hesitate to see an ENT provider. 

In addition, you can talk to a physician here at Advanced Specialty Associates for personalized tips on prevention of hearing loss or treatment if you’ve noticed the above signs. Remember, early detection and intervention can make all the difference. 

Get personalized advice on protecting your hearing by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with an ENT provider at the Advanced Specialty Associates location most convenient to you today.