Woman smiling and cuffing hear ear

Start Your New Year with Better Hearing! 

AuDSEO Designs Hearing Health

2023 is just about here! Aside from the revelry as the ball drops and the confetti settles, this is a great time of year to reflect on the last year and how you’d like this next one to go. This time of year, it seems there are so many reasons to gather to celebrate togetherness during the shortest and coldest days of the year. At your last gathering did you find that it was hard to follow conversations- especially when lots of people were speaking and holiday music was blasting. This can be a challenge for anyone, however, it can often be a sign of an undiagnosed hearing loss.

Hearing loss often creeps in slowly without most people even knowing. However, even when it’s undiagnosed, it can still be devastating in ways many don’t suspect. The important thing to understand is that early detection and treatment is key. You won’t know for sure if you have it or not unless you test – so this year, start it out right with a hearing exam.

Do You Have Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is the third most common health condition affecting older adults in the US. One in three people 65 and older have hearing loss and this number jumps to one in two of everyone 75 years and older. However, anyone of any age can suffer from hearing loss. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in eight people between the ages of 18-69 suffer hearing loss in both ears, based on standard examinations.

It’s hard to self-diagnose a hearing loss, due to the gradual nature it often develops in. Hearing loss is a progressive condition which often gets worse, especially for those who maintain change in certain lifestyle choices. Certain tones and sounds go missing first, often affecting your ability to differentiate certain consonants such as “sh from f”, or “b” from “v” and “d” and this can cause confusion during everyday conversations- even in the early days of hearing loss. However, as your risk goes up, it’s recommended that you test more frequently. We recommend regular screening for hearing loss every three to five years, however, for those at high risk we recommend annual testing. This includes:

  • People who work in a loud environment
  • People who engage in noisy hobbies and interests
  • Those diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease
  • Smokers
  • Those who are 60 years and older

Protecting Your Ears from Loud Noise

Whether you have hearing loss or not it’s important to remember that it can start and almost always get worse. However, there are several things you can do to protect your hearing. One way is to monitor your listening practices. We hear via tiny hair like cells called stereocilia which deliver sound from the inner ear to the brain. This is where sounds are identified, and speech is processed. The loudness or volume of sound is measured in decibels and any decibel level over a safe threshold can cause audio vibrations so loud, it can shatter the stereocilia, inhibiting certain sounds from reaching the brain and causing permanent hearing loss.

Noise induced hearing loss is one of the largest causes affecting younger generations – often due to unsafe headphone use or attendance at nightclubs, sporting events and concerts. We recommend monitoring the decibel levels in the places you frequent and if it is loud enough that you must shout to speak to someone standing three feet away from you, its loud enough to be causing permanent damage. Travel with headphones, turn down the volume when you can and take listening breaks to commit to safer listening practices in 2023.

Eating and Exercising for Your Ears

The cells of our inner ears rely on a healthy supply of oxygenated blood to stay healthy and deliver sound for years to come. Another way you can support healthy hearing is by choosing a diet and exercise routine which will support the cells throughout your entire body, ensuring that your circulation is effective enough to keep your inner ear spry and functioning optimally. We recommend resolving to regular cardiovascular exercise three times a week for at least 25 minutes and choosing a heart healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains, while avoiding processed sugars and foods.

Scheduling a Hearing Exam

Hearing loss is a permanent condition, but it can be treated most often with hearing aids. To find out if hearing aids are right for you, resolve to schedule a hearing exam with us and start your year out right!