Hand holding hearing protection earmuffs that can prevent hearing loss.

You’ve most likely already noticed that your hearing is failing. Hearing loss frequently develops because of decisions you make without knowing they’re affecting your hearing.

Many types of hearing loss are avoidable with a few simple lifestyle changes. Let’s look at six unexpected secrets that will help you preserve your hearing.

1. Regulate Your Blood Pressure

Persistently high blood pressure is not okay. A study found that hearing loss was 52% more likely with people who have above average blood pressure and they’re more likely to have other health problems as well.

Reduce injury to your hearing by taking steps to lower your blood pressure. Don’t ignore high blood pressure or wait to see a doctor. Following your doctor’s orders, managing stress, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise are all parts of blood pressure management.

2. Quit Smoking

Here’s one more reason to quit: Smokers are 15% more likely to suffer from hearing loss. Even more shocking: Individuals who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are 28% more likely to have hearing issues. Even if you leave the room, smoke remains for long periods of time with unhealthy repercussions.

Consider protecting your hearing, if you’re a smoker, by quitting. If you spend time with a smoker, take steps to decrease your exposure to second-hand smoke.

3. Regulate Your Diabetes

Diabetes or pre-diabetes affects one out of four adults. A pre-diabetic individual is very likely to develop diabetes within 5 years unless they make significant lifestyle changes.

Blood vessels that are damaged by high blood sugar don’t effectively carry nutrients. Compared to someone who doesn’t have diabetes, a diabetic person has more than twice the chance of developing hearing loss.

If you have diabetes, safeguard your hearing by taking the appropriate steps to manage it. If you are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes, protect your hearing by making lifestyle changes to avoid it.

4. Lose Some Weight

This isn’t about body image or feeling great about yourself. It’s about your health. As your Body Mass Index (BMI) rises, so does your risk of hearing loss and other health disorders. The chance of developing hearing loss increases by 17% for a mildly obese woman with a BMI of 30 to 34. A moderately obese person has a 25% chance of hearing loss if they have a BMI of 40.

Take actions to shed that excess weight. Something as basic as walking for 30 minutes each day can reduce your risk of hearing loss and prolong your life.

5. OTC Drugs Shouldn’t be Overused

Hearing impairment can be the result of certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The more often these medications are used over a prolonged period of time, the greater the risk.

Common over-the-counter medicines that impact hearing include aspirin, NSAIDs (such as naproxen, ibuprofen), and acetaminophen. Take these drugs sparingly and consult your doctor if you’re taking them on a regular basis.

If you’re using the suggested dose for the periodic headache, studies suggest you’ll probably be okay. Taking them daily, however, increases the chance of hearing loss by up to 40% for men.

Your doctor’s guidance should always be implemented. But if you’re using these medications every day to control chronic pain or thin your blood, speak with your doctor about lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your dependence on OTC drugs.

6. Eat More Broccoli

Broccoli is full of nutrients and vitamins including C and K and also has lots of iron. Iron is essential to a healthy heart and proper blood circulation. Oxygen and nutrients are carried to your cells which helps keep them nourished and healthy and iron is a major part of this process.

If you’re a vegetarian or eat very little meat, it’s important that you consume enough plant-based iron. The iron found in plants is not as bioavailable as the iron in meat so people in this group are more likely to be deficient in iron.

Pennsylvania State University researchers studied over 300,000 people. The researchers determined participants with anemia (severe iron deficiency) were two times as likely to experience sensorineural hearing loss as those without the disorder. Age-related irreversible hearing loss is what the technical term “sensorineural hearing loss” refers to.

The inner ear has delicate hair cells that pick up sounds and communicate with the brain to transmit the volume and frequency of those sounds. If these hair cells die because of poor circulation or other concerns related to iron deficiency, they won’t grow back.

Don’t wait to get a hearing exam because you’re never too young. Prevent hearing loss by implementing these simple tips in your daily life.

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