Excuse me? Could you repeat that? Wait, what? I didn’t catch that. Find yourself saying these phrases way more often than you intend to? Ever wondered how much hearing aids cost? Ever thought about taking lip-reading lessons?
There are many factors that can have you cupping your hands behind your ears just to make sense of what everybody else is saying.
No need to panic just yet. You can improve your hearing naturally or at least preserve what you have left of the ability.
1. Turn Down The Volume
Going to a rock concert or banging your head to invigorating loud music in your room…
…gives you an adrenaline rush that transports you into a happier, completely nonexistent reality. You forget your worries and are lost in the moment. But wait. If you still want to be able to hear that music (and everything else) later on in life, it’s better you grab hold of the volume knob or, even better, stop taking your ears for granted.
Noise-induced hearing loss is a major health problem in our society. Loud noise damages stereocilia (or hair cells) of the inner ear and can even cause cell death. 1 Damaged sterocilia are no good to your ears and can cause loss in auditory function (hearing ability).
Since hearing impairment caused by loud noise is irreversible, prevention trumps cure. 2 Next time your amateur musician friends invite you to their band practice, or when your Grandmama can’t hear herself and speaks at glass shattering frequencies, or when the visually-appealing 4th of July celebrations cause your ears to throb, you might consider investing in a good pair of earplugs. Your friends may make fun of you now, but you will definitely have the last toothless laugh down the road (even though they might not be able to hear you).
2. Don’t Be Stingy When Buying Headphones
A good set of headphones not only makes you look good (or makes you think you look good) but also helps retain your hearing for a longer time. Doctors usually advise not to crank up the volume of your music devices to more than 60% of their total capacity while using your headphones.
Why can’t you use your cheap, old, ordinary headphones?
While nothing is wrong with cheap or old, the problem is in ordinary. Ordinary headphones are not built to muffle surrounding sounds. In your attempt to drown the boring, killing-your-vibe (but loud) phone conversation of the person sitting next to you, you might be tempted to amp up the volume of MJ’s Thriller to maximum. You now know that is not good for your poor ears. Instead, shell out some extra cash and get yourself a good set of noise-canceling headphones so that you can enjoy peace of mind and your music for a long, long time.
3. Get A Professional To Dig Your Ear Gold Out
Ear wax does not usually cause hearing loss, however, a wax blockage can temporarily impair hearing. When you take matters into your own hands and enthusiastically dig into your ears with cotton swabs, safety pins, or any other (life-threatening) narrow object you get your hands on, you may be under the illusion that you are removing majority of the gunk out of your ears.
In reality, you are actually pushing the wax further into your ears causing a blockage. The very action of forcefully prying into your ears can cause inner ear damage leading to hearing loss.
The next time you feel tempted to dig in, stop and consider the consequences. Instead visit an otolaryngologist (a ear, nose, and throat doctor) and have your ear wax removed professionally, the safer way.
4. Keep Matters Of The Heart At Heart
Associating our auditory function with our heart does seem peculiar. Well, not really. Our heart pumps blood and is, thus, responsible for maintaining our blood pressure. Hypertension (high blood pressure) has been identified as an independent risk factor for hearing loss.3 Now do you see the connection?
There is no point stressing over it (and making matters worse). Instead, go out, get active, and eat and live healthy to keep your blood pressure under control.
There is nothing better than being able to hear your loved ones’ heartbeats.
5. Watch Out For Infections
Ear infections can be painful and can cause temporary hearing loss. You can treat such infections naturally at home by scrounging around for a few useful ingredients like garlic oil, tea tree oil, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Garlic oil, tea tree oil, and olive oil have antimicrobial properties, whereas apple cider vinegar has antiseptic properties.4 5 6 A hot salt press against the ear (nothing but salt wrapped in a cloth ad heated in the microwave) helps ease pain by drawing out moisture from the ear, making it unsuitable for bacteria to thrive.
If you find your ear infection persisting despite trying these home remedies, consult a doctor ASAP. With professional medical advice you will be able to pin down the root cause of the infection, take specific medication for it, and show those uninvited germs who’s boss!
What’s The Takeaway?
Following these measures to preserve your hearing seems like a piece of cake when compared with all the effort you will have to put in when you are hard of hearing. These steps are simple, convenient, and easy to follow leaving you no room to make excuses. Your future self will thank you when you can hear what your grandchildren are saying (and not have a clue about what they are talking about)…
…rather than hearing nothing but a faint buzz or the sound of your own thoughts telling you “If only you had taken care of your hearing when you could!”
|↑1||Peter M. Rabinowitz. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. American Family Physician. 2000.|
|↑2||Mariola Sliwinska-Kowalska, Adrian Davis. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. Noise and Health: A Bimonthly Inter-Disciplinary International Journal. 2012.|
|↑3||Luciana Lozza de Moraes Marchiori, Eduardo de Almeida Rego Filho, Tiemi Matsuo. Hypertension as a Factor Associated with hearing Loss. Rev. Bras. Otorrinolaringol. Vol.72 no.4São Paulo. 2006.|
|↑4||Z. M. Ross, E. A. O’Gara, D. J. Hill, H. V. Sleightholme, D. J. Maslin. Antimicrobial Properties of Garlic Oil against Human Enteric Bacteria: Evaluation of Methodologies and Comparisons with Garlic Oil Sulfides and Garlic Powder. Applied Environmental Microbiology. 2001.|
|↑5||C. F. Carson, K. A. Hammer, T. V. Riley. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 2006.|
|↑6||S. Cicerale, L. J. Lucas, R. S. J. Keast. Antimicrobial, Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Phenolic Activities in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 2012.|