Resolve to take care of your Ears this Year!
Don’t leave out your ears when making your New Year’s health resolutions this year! The following tips can help preserve your hearing for many years to come.
- Use earplugs around loud noises. Clubs, concerts, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and any other noises that force you to shout just to get the person next to you hear you, can create dangerous levels of sound. Earplugs are convenient and easy to obtain.
- Turn the volume down. If you like to enjoy music through headphones or earbuds, you can protect your ears by following the 60/60 rule. The suggestion is to listen with headphones at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes a day. Earbuds are especially dangerous, as they fit directly next to the eardrum. If possible, opt for over-the-ear headphones.
- Stop using cotton swabs in your ears. A little bit of wax in your ears is not only normal, but it’s also important. The ears are self-cleaning organs, and wax stops dust and other harmful particles from entering the canal. Also, inserting anything inside your ear canals risks damaging sensitive organs like your ear drums.
- Take medications only as directed. Certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, can sometimes contribute to hearing loss. Discuss medications with your doctor if you’re concerned that they’ll impact your hearing ability.
- Keep your ears dry. Excess moisture can allow bacteria to enter and attack the ear canal. This can cause swimmer’s ear or other types of ear infections, which can be dangerous for your hearing ability. Be sure you gently towel dry your ears after bathing or swimming.
- Get up and move. Did you know that exercise is good for your ears? Cardio exercises like walking, running, or cycling gets the blood pumping to all parts of your body, including the ears. This helps the ears’ internal parts stay healthy and working to their maximum potential.
- Manage stress levels. Stress and anxiety have been linked to both temporary and permanent tinnitus (ringing in the ears). High levels of stress cause your body to go into fight or flight mode. This process puts a lot of pressure on your nerves, blood flow, body heat, and more. It’s commonly thought that this pressure and stress can travel up into your inner ear and contribute to tinnitus symptoms.
- Get regular checkups. Because hearing loss can develop gradually, it’s recommended that you have annual hearing consultations with an audiologist. Taking action is important because untreated hearing loss, besides detracting from quality of life and the strength of relationships, has been linked to other health concerns like depression, dementia, and heart disease.
- Eat a varied diet rich in vitamins and nutrients. In the fight to keep your body healthy and functioning properly, vitamins and minerals play an important role. Some minerals, like magnesium & zinc are critical elements in protecting our hearing health. It’s believed that the magnesium acts as a protective barrier to hair cells in the inner ear when loud noises are emitted. And lack of magnesium has been shown to shrink blood vessels in the inner ear, possibly causing oxygen deprivation.
- Give your ears time to recover. If you are exposed to loud noises for a prolonged period of time, like at a concert or a bar, your ears need time to recover. If you can, step outside for five minutes every so often in order to let them rest. Also, researchers have found that your ears need an average of 16 hours of quiet to recover from one loud night out!