Hearing loss can have a major impact on daily life and mental health, so we need to protect our ears and shouldn’t ignore any warning signs – Kim Jones is looking for new ways to take care of your hearing holes
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One in five lives with them deafness – but a third leave it untreated. Those who fend for themselves and don’t ask for help are twice as likely to feel depressed and anxious, research by hearing aid specialist Hidden Hearing has found.
Hearing loss is also linked to cognitive decline and dementia, according to a report in The Lancet.
The good news is that there is a lot you can do to stay healthy Listen sharp, prevent problems from occurring and ensure you catch problems early.
“Practicing focused and active listening will reveal a potential hearing loss,” says Farah Kiani, audiologist at Hidden Hearing.
“Try to turn on the TV and the radio at the same time and only follow one at a time.
“First the TV for two minutes, then focus on the radio for two minutes. Try looking in different directions, with one volume on top of the other. Be aware of any difficulties and talk to your doctor about your concerns.”
Beware of everyday dangers
We all know that listening through loud headphones or going to concerts can damage our hearing, but everyday noises – if they measure over 85 decibels – can also damage hearing with repeated exposure.
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Be wary of things like playing the car stereo loud over street noise, using a lawn mower, power tool, coffee grinder, or even a hair dryer at height.
Wear noise-cancelling earplugs if necessary.
“More and more people are turning to meditation to improve their hearing health,” says Karen Shepherd of Boots Hearingcare (bootshearingcare.com).
“On one level, it helps because relaxation and deep breathing increase blood flow and help the hemoglobin in red blood cells to carry oxygen to the inner ear more easily.” There it assists the hair cells, which convert sound into electrical energy, which is transmitted to the auditory cortex for decoding.
“On another level, listening with hearing loss requires effort and focus — people have to rely on auditory memory to fill in gaps — and this can often be a stressful, upsetting experience,” adds Karen.
“By learning to manage stress through relaxation, people can maintain control and clarity of thought. Less stress allows a person to connect all available sensory information.”
“Having the right balance of vitamins and minerals has been shown to improve hearing quality,” says Karen.
“Folic acid, B vitamins, magnesium and zinc contribute to better hearing and a healthier body in general. Consider taking a dietary supplement to get the full effect, but always consult a doctor first, especially if you are taking any other medication.”
Listen like a musician
Many people first realize they have a hearing problem when they are unable to follow conversations in noisy environments.
Studies have found that musicians are particularly good at separating a voice in a crowd because they’ve trained their brains to hear their own instruments while others are playing.
“Improve your listening comprehension like a musician would by playing a piece of music at a volume comfortable enough to hold a conversation, then walk around the house trying to follow an instrument or just the lyrics of the song. advises Farah.
“This exercise can help you focus on identifying an isolated noise element and focus better during conversations.
“If you’re having a really hard time isolating a sound, it can be a sign of hearing loss.”
Watch your weight
A comprehensive review and analysis of studies published in the journal Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine has confirmed that there may be a link between obesity and hearing loss.
Researchers believe that since the ear relies on a good blood supply to function well, obesity could impede this flow as it can lead to narrowing of blood vessels and intoxication blood pressure.
Reduced blood supply to the cochlea leads to damage to the hair cells and eventually hearing loss.
Getting outside two hours a week can keep your hearing sharp.
A study of more than 68,000 women published online in the American Journal of Medicine found that those who were most physically active had a 17 percent lower risk of hearing loss than those who were least active.
The good news is that you don’t have to do a strenuous workout to give your hearing half a chance. The researchers found that women who walked two or more hours a week were 15 percent less likely to develop hearing loss than women who walked less than an hour a week.
Research from the University of Manchester found that smoking increases the likelihood of hearing loss by more than 15 percent. The more you smoke, the greater the risk.
The toxins in tobacco can be responsible for oxidative damage, and smoking reduces the blood supply to the ears.
Book a trial
Farah recommends a hearing test, which is free on High Street, at the first sign of loss and for anyone over 55.
“An early warning sign is turning up the volume on the TV or having trouble understanding what’s being said when you’re on the phone,” she explains.
Getty Images/Disability Images)
“A family member or friend is more likely to notice your problems, so be aware when someone reports something to you.”
Hidden Hearing offers a free five minute online hearing test (hiddenhearing.co.uk) which gives a quick look at hearing levels and can refer you for a longer test if required.
Try doing the downward facing dog
“Many people with hearing impairments say that a yoga practice can sometimes help them hear better,” says Karen.
“Relaxing and stretching in such positions allows oxygenated blood to reach the head more quickly, which can aid hearing.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/yoga-tests-vitamins-how-keep-26508113 Yoga, tests and vitamins - how to keep your hearing sharp and spot problems early