Most people go years without doing anything to address their hearing impairment. They delay seeing an audiologist or getting hearing aids. The reason for the lack of sense of urgency is that hearing loss usually gets worse over the course of many years. The first signs are typically barely noticeable.
If you suspect that you are experiencing hearing loss, the first thing you should do is to make an appointment with a hearing care specialist.
This is an important step, as only a doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and determine the degree of your hearing loss. If you have been struggling with hearing loss for an extended period, chances are, you may need hearing aids to improve your hearing abilities.
Although there are various types of hearing loss, audiologists can often offer a hearing solution. Here are the most common types of hearing loss:
Conductive hearing loss makes it difficult for sounds to get to your inner ear. With this condition, sounds cannot pass through the outer and middle ear. You may have a hard time hearing soft sounds, while at the same time, louder sounds may be muffled. Conductive hearing loss can have various causes, such as fluid in your middle ear, ear infection, otitis media, eustachian tube dysfunction, or a perforated eardrum.
Sensorineural hearing loss happens due to damage to your inner ear. You may have real difficulty hearing soft sounds, but louder sounds won't be clear either. The leading causes for the condition are certain diseases, medications that are toxic to your hearing, aging, head trauma, and more. If you have severe hearing loss, your doctor may recommend a cochlear implant.
A mixed hearing loss is a problem that's caused by damage in your outer or middle ear and your inner ear. Any of the causes associated with conductive or SNHL can lead to mixed hearing loss.
As hearing loss impacts all aspects of your life, it is essential to see an audiologist. Depending on your particular case, your doctor may recommend hearing aids to help sharpen your hearing experience. Your physician can work with you to help restore your hearing and recommend the necessary treatment.
In addition to seeing a specialist, there are numerous activities that you can do to help improve your hearing.
Your brain is an incredible part of your body that plays a significant role in processing sounds that your ears receive. Just like your muscles that need regular exercise to stay strong, so does your brain.
Solving puzzles is a fun way to keep your brain in top shape and prevent brain degeneration. Some examples of different types of puzzles are crosswords, word searches, and Soduku. The key is to do these exercises regularly, at least weekly but preferably every day.
Playing cards or board games with friends and family is also an entertaining way to stay sharp and remain connected to your loved ones. Socializing is especially helpful to help prevent you from becoming isolated. Many people become anxious and depressed, and therefore, less likely to partake in social interactions as their hearing continues to deteriorate.
Yoga offers a multitude of health benefits to body, mind, and soul. Did you know that specific yoga poses can be supportive of your hearing as well? The way that yoga can improve your hearing is by increasing circulation in your brain and your ear. Improved circulation enhances the function of your nerves, and helps detoxify your cells.
The best yoga poses to improve your circulation are the Tree, Cobra, Triangle, and Camel pose. Research has shown that yoga can even reduce the symptoms of tinnitus - a perception of ringing or noise in the ear. Start practicing yoga regularly, and you may find that your anxiety and stress levels also decrease.
Daily movement is essential not only for ear health but for achieving optimum health for your body and mind. Staying active each day enhances your wellbeing in so many different ways. You don't have to run a half a marathon every day to reap the health-enhancing benefits of exercise. Choose a physical activity that you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, swimming, jumping, yoga, or perhaps gardening. Any of these activities will help get your blood pumping and improve your circulation. Do whatever floats your boat, the key is to stick with it and make physical activity a regular part of your daily routine.
Exercise does wonders for blood circulation to your inner ear. The "hearing part" of the inner ear, called cochlea, benefits significantly from the increased blood flow. The cochlea is a vital component of your auditory system, as it converts sound vibrations into nerve impulses.
If you don't like working out, don't worry. Even a relatively small amount of exercise (two times a week) can have a positive effect on hearing loss. Be careful not to exercise with headphones and avoid loud music at all costs. Loud noise is known to cause damage to your ear hairs, and those that you lose, cannot be replaced.
The best way to gauge whether your music is too loud is if people can hear the music playing in your headset.
Meditation is an ancient practice with numerous studies supporting its multitude of benefits to your health. Many people are surprised to hear that it even helps to improve your hearing. When you sit in silence and turn your attention within, you assist your body to regulate your blood pressure, blood flow, and normalize other physiological processes. Meditation has a profound ability to reduce your stress, and by that, diminish its potential negative impact on all your bodily systems.
This simple yet powerful practice encourages deep relaxation and increases blood flow to your brain. When you tune in to the sounds around you, or other ambient sounds, such as birds chirping, you inadvertently work on your hearing. By using sounds to meditate, you will be far more attuned to them throughout your day. Over time, your subconscious mind will assist in helping you notice certain smaller sounds, that you may have missed before. Even though this may be a mental hearing improvement, its effect is still powerful.
Meditating in a park allows you to immerse yourself in a whole host of different sounds. Doing deep breathing exercises as part of your meditation will oxygenate your blood and increase your blood circulation. Alternate focusing your attention into the body and then on all the sounds around you.
Most people don't know, but your ears are not the only ones playing a role in your ability to hear sounds. Your brain too bears a huge responsibility for processing sounds. You can optimize your brain's ability to fulfill its function by training it to focus on noise. Sound location is an effective way to sharpen your brain's ability to locate and interpret sounds. There are several variations of this type of hearing exercise.
You can use some or all of the above activities to improve your hearing. Make sure that you do them regularly to see results. If you are experiencing hearing loss, make sure you get a hearing test done. A hearing test performed by a hearing care specialist is essential to find out the type and severity of your hearing loss.
Getting a hearing aid may be your best option to improve your hearing problems. A hearing aid allows you to hear better, and also helps your brain recognize the sounds you are unable to hear without a hearing aid. You should always seek professional help for your worsening symptoms because untreated hearing loss can negatively impact your mental and physical wellbeing.