Healthy Habits for Better Hearing

Exercise is one healthy habit that can lead to better hearing.. galleryhip

When it comes to hearing loss, we can’t change our genetics. We can, however, choose to adopt practices that contribute to healthy ears and may prevent some types of hearing loss.

Eat a healthy diet

Fresh fruits and vegetables provide high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help heal ear tissues and may increase blood and oxygen flow to the structures of the ear. Diets with a low glycemic load have been shown to decrease a person’s risk of developing diabetes.

Uncontrolled diabetes may cause damage to the small blood vessels in the ear; this damage will result in less oxygen getting to the ear. Without adequate blood and oxygen supply, irreversible damage will occur.

Move more

Exercise decreased both the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In fact, the inner ear is so sensitive to changes in blood flow that low frequency hearing loss may be one of the first indications of cardiovascular disease.

Stop smoking

In addition to contributing to cardiovascular disease, smoking exposes the body to nicotine and carbon monoxide. These chemicals restrict blood flow to the ear, may affect neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve, and contribute to creating free radicals that are damaging to body tissues.  

It’s important to keep children away from secondhand smoke in order to protect their hearing. When children are exposed to secondhand smoke,  they will develop more ear infections.

Ear infections not only cause a temporary hearing loss that can delay speech and language milestones but can contribute to lifelong learning problems such as auditory processing disorder.

Avoid noise or wear hearing protection in noise

Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable. Consistent use of hearing protection in areas where the sounds are greater than 80 dB will prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

There are many different options for hearing protection, from foam plugs to large muffs, but it is important to use hearing protection correctly and consistently for the best results. Many people think of occupational noise when they think of hearing protection, but recreational noise is just as detrimental to hearing. Hunting, shooting, riding a motorcycle, lawn equipment, and listening to music can produce dangerous levels of sound. Contact your audiologist for more information about the types of hearing protection that are available for all kinds of situations; there are hearing protection devices for hunting that allow the hunter to hear soft sounds but protect against the loud gunshot noises and hearing protection specifically for musicians that decrease the frequencies evenly to prevent distortion of the music.

Prevent ear trauma

Using cotton swabs or ear candles to remove earwax is ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. Cotton swabs can not only puncture the eardrum, but if they are pushed into the eardrum can disarticulate the tiny bones of the middle ear.

This type of injury will usually require surgery or hearing aids to compensate for the resulting hearing loss. Ear candles can result in burns and melted wax in the ear canal. The bottom line is not to stick anything in your ear.

Another type of trauma that can occur is called barotrauma. This commonly occurs while flying in an airplane or scuba diving. Avoiding these activities when you have congestion due to a cold or allergies is helpful as is taking a decongestant before flying or scuba diving if you tend to have Eustachian tube dysfunction. Before you take any medication, check with your doctor.


Heart Disease and Hearing Loss Linked, So Get Your Hearing Checked for World Heart Day, BHI Advises (9/19/2013). PR Newswire. Accessed from 

Smoking, passive smoking linked to hearing loss (5/31/2014). MNT. Accessed from 

Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke (3/5/2014). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed from

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