A new year is right around the corner and besides popping the champagne and singing Auld Lang Syne, it’s the customary time for many of us to make resolutions to improve our future. What do you want to improve for the new year’s? Many of us may want to invest in supporting our health, to carry us onward towards many more new years to come. This can include investing in a regular exercise routine, improving our diet or addressing long standing health conditions before they get out of hand. One of the most common health ailments affecting people of all ages in the United States is hearing loss- however the risk goes up significantly as we age. This year if you are wanting to improve your overall health, addressing your hearing may be a great way to improve multiple issues at once.
How do I Know if I Have Hearing Loss?
You may have a hearing loss and not even know it. This is because in most cases, it’s a condition which progressively becomes worse- gradually over many years. Your brain rationalizes the loss and attempts to compensate. You may not realize you even have an issue until someone comments on a sound that you just can’t hear, such as the chirping of birds or water running down a brook. However, just because you aren’t aware of your hearing loss doesn’t mean it’s not affecting you. The people in your life will notice. They may not identify it as a hearing loss. Instead, they may feel you seem disinterested, distant or not paying attention. This can lead to long standing resentment and rifts in your relationships.
Identifying a Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be difficult to self-diagnose. In fact, it may be the other people in your life who notice it first. It’s all too common to be in denial of a hearing loss, but once you address it, you can access the important tools it takes to improve your life. Common signs include:
- Asking people to frequently repeat themselves
- People complain you listen to the TV too loud when it feel just fine to you
- People sound muffled when speaking
- Certain voices in higher pitches are harder to hear
- You struggle with ringing in your ears
Staying Active with Improved Hearing
When you struggle to hear it does more than impact your relationships, it affects how you stay active and mobile. Our hearing helps us to connect to others by listening and being able to respond. However, when we struggle to hear, it also affects our ability to respond to clues of our environment. We are more likely to miss important warning sounds which would otherwise help us avoid potential dangers. For this reason, those with unaddressed hearing are more likely to suffer falls and accidents which can lead to hospitalizations.
When we are less aware of our environment, it’s common for people to feel less confident they can safely navigate new experiences out in the world. Part of maintaining our health includes staying active and trying new things. When you catch and treat a hearing loss early, you can stay active and engaged for years to come.
Supporting Healthy Hearing
Hearing loss is a permanent condition, so it’s important to do what we can now to prevent it for the future. One way we can support healthy hearing is to improve our diet. It may seem like a stretch at first, but once you understand how hearing works it will make more sense. For us to hear, sound must reach our brain. We achieve this via tiny hair cells within our inner ear called stereocilia. The cells of our entire body are supported by eating a heart healthy diet. When our heart is supported, it can deliver healthy oxygenated blood to the cells across our body, including ears. A heart healthy diet prioritizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins while minimizing processed foods, sugars, and fatty meats.
Invest in Your Overall Health
When you take the leap and invest in healthy hearing, you invest a more active and connected lifestyle. As the new year approaches it’s a good time to age gracefully. If you suspect you have a hearing loss, don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule a hearing exam for the new year!