McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

Hand holding hearing protection earmuffs that can prevent hearing loss.

Chances are you’ve already detected that you don’t hear as well as you once did. Hearing loss often develops because of decisions you make without recognizing they’re impacting your hearing.

Many kinds of hearing loss are preventable with a few simple lifestyle changes. Let’s look at six surprising secrets that will help you protect your hearing.

1. Manage Your Blood Pressure

It’s not okay if your blood pressure stays high. A study revealed that hearing loss was 52% more likely with individuals who have higher than average blood pressure and they are more likely to have other health problems as well.

Avoid injury to your hearing by taking steps to reduce your blood pressure. Consult a doctor right away and never dismiss your high blood pressure. Following your doctor’s guidance, eating a healthy diet, managing stress, and exercising regularly are all parts of blood pressure management.

2. Quit Smoking

There are plenty of good reasons to quit smoking, here’s yet another: People who smoke are 15% more likely to suffer from hearing loss. Even more alarming: Individuals who are regularly subjected to second-hand smoke are 28% more likely to have hearing troubles. The hazardous consequences of second-hand smoke are not only harmful, they also hang in the air for long periods.

If you smoke, protect your hearing and think about quitting. Take measures to minimize your exposure to second-hand smoke if you hang out with a smoker.

3. Manage Your Diabetes

Diabetes or pre-diabetes impacts one out of four adults. Unless they make some serious lifestyle changes, somebody who is pre-diabetic will very likely get diabetes within 5 years.

Blood vessels that are injured by high blood sugar don’t effectively carry nutrients. A diabetic individual is more than two times as likely to cope with hearing loss compared to a non-diabetic individual.

If you have diabetes, protect your hearing by taking the proper steps to manage it. If you are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes, safeguard your hearing by making lifestyle changes to prevent it.

4. Lose Some Weight

This is more about your health than feeling great about your body image. As your Body Mass Index (BMI) goes up, so does your possibility of hearing loss and other health problems. A slightly obese woman (with a 30 to 34 BMI) has a 17% higher risk of developing hearing loss. For an individual with a BMI of 40 (moderate obesity), the risk rises to 25%.

Work to eliminate some of that extra weight. Your life can be prolonged and your hearing can be protected by something as basic as walking for 30 minutes each day.

5. OTC Medicines Shouldn’t be Overused

Hearing loss can be the result of some over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The more often these medications are taken over a long period of time, the higher the risk.

Medicines such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin are known to trigger hearing loss. Take these medications moderately and consult your doctor if you’re taking them regularly.

Studies reveal that you’ll most likely be fine if you’re taking these medications periodically in the recommended doses. Taking them every day, however, raises the chance of hearing loss by up to 40% for men.

Always follow your doctor’s advice. But if you’re using these medications every day to manage chronic pain or thin your blood, consult your doctor about lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your dependence on OTC drugs.

6. Eat More Broccoli

Broccoli is packed with nutrients and vitamins including C and K and also is high in iron. Iron is integral to a healthy heart and proper blood circulation. Oxygen and nutrients are carried to your cells which helps keep them healthy and nourished and iron is a significant part of this process.

For vegetarians or people who don’t eat meat very often, eating a sufficient amount of plant-based iron is important. The iron found in plants is not as bioavailable as the iron in meat so people in this group are more likely to be deficient in iron.

More than 300,000 people were studied by Pennsylvania State University. People who suffer from anemia (severe iron deficiency) are twice as likely, according to this research, to experience sensorineural hearing loss than individuals who have normal iron concentrations. Sensorineural hearing loss is the scientific term for irreversible hearing loss related to the aging process.

The inner ear has delicate hair cells that pick up sounds and interact with the brain to transmit the volume and frequency of those sounds. If these hair cells die due to poor circulation or other complications related to iron deficiency, they never grow back.

You’re never too young to get your hearing examined, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Reduce hearing loss by applying these simple tips in your daily life.