Kent Probst, BS, MEd
Kent Probst is the owner of Long Healthy Life Blog
6 Ways to Improve Your Hearing Naturally
You probably remember hearing (pun intended) your parents tell you as a child to turn down your loud music, mainly because they found it annoying.
Your parents also knew that avoiding loud noises is one of the ways to improve hearing naturally.
Your parents didn’t want you to damage your hearing.
Turns out your parents were right. But in your youth, you thought you were invincible.
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with your hearing, and you’d like to keep it that way. Great!
Or you have some hearing loss, and don’t want it to get worse. Either way, here are six ways to improve your hearing naturally
1. Avoid Sharp Objects
This seems like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people put objects in their ears that are too small, thinking they’re going to clean out their ears.
Using a Q-tip to clean out your ears is something to be avoided. The Q-tip is too small and can damage the inside of your ear.
You might think that ear wax is dirty, but it actually has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
When ear wax builds up and needs to be cleaned out, use ear cleaning drops or a bulb syringe available over the counter.
2. Avoid Loud Noise
Your parents were right. Exposure to loud noises over 85 decibels (dB) is a sure way to lose your hearing.
Hearing loss from exposure to loud noises can be a long term process, or it can happen immediately.
If you can’t avoid loud noises, wear earplugs or other ear protection.
The following are sources of loud noise over 85 dB:
- 90 dB – Lawnmower, truck traffic
- 95 dB – Motorcycle, power saw
- 100 dB – Chainsaw, stereo headphones
- 105 dB – Jackhammer, helicopter
- 110 dB – Snowmobile in driver’s seat
- 120 dB – Rock concert, sandblasting
- 125 dB – Air raid siren, firecracker
- 140 dB – Gunshot, jet engine at takeoff
3. Stay Physically Fit
Want to prevent age-related hearing loss (AHL)? Nearly two thirds of adults over age 70 develop some degree of AHL. Regular exercise can help though.
A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience involving mice demonstrated that regular exercise slowed AHL, as well as cochlear degeneration.
The study found that exercise reduced age-related loss of strial capillaries associated with inflammation.
4. Don’t Smoke
We’re constantly told not to start smoking, or to stop if you’re already smoking.
You know much of the harm smoking does to your health, but you may not know that smoking cigarettes harms your hearing.
A hospital-based study found that smoking was associated with sensorineural hearing loss. Smoking reduces blood supply to constricted arteries caused by nicotine.
The smokers in the study had significantly greater hearing loss than the nonsmokers.
5. Avoid Side Effects From Medication
Hearing loss can occur ototoxically (toxins that damage the ear) from the side effects of prescription medication.
The medication side effects often damage the cochlea in older adults who have to take prescription medication on a regular basis. The side effects often manifest themselves as tinnitus or vertigo.
The hearing loss may go away when you stop taking the medication, or it may be permanent.
The following medications can cause hearing loss:
- Aspirin (8 to 12 pills a day)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
- Antibiotics such as aminoglycosides
- Diuretics such as furosemide (Lasix) or bumetanide
- Drugs used to treat cancer such as cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and bleomycin
Hearing loss from medication side effects is more likely if you’re taking two or more of these drugs. Consult your physician if you notice hearing loss while taking one of these medications.
6. Eat a Healthy Diet
The Mediterranean diet is not only a great path to health longevity, but it also decreases the likelihood that you’ll experience hearing loss.
The nutrients potassium, folate, zinc and magnesium are important for preventing hearing loss. The Mediterranean diet can ensure you’re getting these nutrients.
Potassium regulates and maintains the proper amounts of fluid in the inner ear. Zinc strengthens the immune system, which you need to prevent ear infections.
Folate helps maintain good circulation, which is needed for proper functioning of the inner ear. And magnesium can help protect the hair cells of the inner ear.
Improving your hearing naturally doesn’t have to be difficult. Take it one step at a time. Implement the recommendations gradually.
If you’re experiencing hearing loss, consult an audiologist.
Eventually, you’ll be on your way to reducing your risk of hearing loss and improving your hearing naturally.
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.