Is Your Hearing At Risk? Tips to Protect Your Ears
How to Improve Your Hearing
The medicine you take, the food you eat and yes, the way you listen to music can all affect how well your ears function. Follow this advice from doctors and nutrition experts to protect your hearing.
Pay attention to noise levels
Hearing loss doesn't always show up right away, and it typically doesn't result from just one loud concert. The effects are cumulative, and you may not notice them until one or two decades from now. But it's never too late to start protecting your hearing. The most helpful habit you can adopt is to minimize noise exposure whenever you can. A good rule of thumb: If the noise level around you feels uncomfortable, or if you have to raise your voice to be heard, it's too loud. Turn it down, leave the room or, if that's not possible, wear earplugs. You can even close your ears with your fingers when there's loud street noise, like a lawn mower or a siren. Every little bit helps. If you listen to music with earbuds, swap them for over-the-ear headphones: They keep the sound farther from the eardrum as well as block out ambient noise so you don't have to set the music too loud.
FRANK LIN, MD, PhD, assistant professor of otolaryngology–head & neck surgery, geriatric medicine, mental health and epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore
Consult your doc about OTC pills
"Our research followed women for up to 14 years and found that the risk of hearing loss was 13% higher for women who took ibuprofen two to three days per week, compared with those who used it less than one day per week," says Sharon Curhan, MD, associate professor, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. "And it was 24% higher for women who took ibuprofen six or more days per week. Similar results were found with acetaminophen, but aspirin wasn't linked to problems in this study. If you're concerned, talk to your health care provider about the right medication for you."
Eat fish and fats
Surprisingly, certain foods can impact how well you hear. Research shows that people who ate two or more servings of fish a week were 42% less likely to experience age-related hearing loss than those who only had fish once a week—and eating plenty of monounsaturated fats (found in foods like olive oil and avocados) helps lower your risk as well. Cutting back on sugars and processed carbohydrates (white bread, rice, pasta) is also a smart move.
Video: How to Improve Your Hearing at Home
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