Man with his hand up to his ear

The most seemingly innocent habits can have severe and lasting impacts sometimes. Such is the case with hearing loss. Around 30% of people 65 and older have hearing loss. This shows just how easy it is to damage your hearing. But by taking certain precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk and slow the progression.

1. Diet

Like so many diseases, eating the wrong foods, or not eating the right foods, can cause and worsen hearing loss. You need certain nutrients to build healthy cells and keep those cells nourished.

Unlike other parts of your body, the inner ear, where most of your hearing happens, has cells that don’t heal or regenerate once they’ve been damaged.

Avoid processed foods, sandwich meats and other inflammatory foods.

Instead, eat an hearing-healthy diet that includes sufficient:

  • Potassium
  • Folic acid
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Omega 3 Fats

2. Smoking

Smokers are 70% more likely to have hearing loss. Nicotine impacts the neurotransmitters that allow you to hear. It can also cause tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ears.

Smoking damages your DNA through free radicals. Smoking may also make your ears more sensitive to sound. That would mean that lower volumes would do greater damage.

3. Not Managing Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can damage the whole body, causing blood flow to stagnate and vessels to burst. Without proper blood supply, inner ear cells die and can’t regenerate.

4. Working a High-Risk Job

Some people work in professions where risks of hearing loss are higher like:

  • Club bouncer, bartender, server, etc.
  • Events worker
  • Musician
  • Construction worker
  • Miner/Quarry-worker
  • Manufacturing
  • Train operator or staff member

If you’re in one of these high-risk jobs, protecting your ears from the loud sounds is key to preventing hearing loss.

5. Not Wearing Earplugs

If your employer tells you to wear earplugs or earmuffs at work, and you don’t, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Employers are required to test noise levels and protect employees from excessive noise.

If your employer doesn’t require ear protection, but noise levels are excessive, you should take it upon yourself to wear them.

Riding a motorcycle, mowing the lawn, practice shooting and other everyday activities can also cause hearing loss if you don’t wear earplugs.

6. Partying Too Hard

If your idea of a great night out is spending hours at a bar, club or party where the music is so loud that you can’t hear the person next to you, you’re damaging your hearing. Even some restaurants crank the music way up.

Limit your exposure to loud music.

7. Going to the Movies

Studies have shown that the average noise level in a theater is around 94 decibels. Hearing loss starts at 85. If the movie is uncomfortably loud, walk out and get your money back.

Make movie-going a special treat. It’s probably something you shouldn’t do all of the time if you want to keep your hearing. Consider wearing low decibel earplugs to block 20-30 decibels and protect your ears.

8. Working Out to Music

Are you attending spinning class every week without fail? Do you take an aerobics class? Do you walk or jog with the headphones nearly maxed out?

You’re damaging your hearing.

To protect yourself from hearing loss, wear earplugs at the gym if volumes are too high or find another gym. Keep your portable music player at no greater than 60% volume. These devices can max out at 120 decibels. That’s almost as loud as a gunshot and can cause almost instant hearing damage.

9. Using “Natural Hearing Loss Cures”

There are many natural hearing loss cures on the Internet. They make big claims. But there is no scientific proof they work. And many of the claims they make demonstrates that they don’t understand what causes hearing loss. They don’t get that age-related hearing loss cannot be reversed as many other diseases can.

It can only be managed.

Using remedies can delay your getting your hearing tested and treated professionally. This can lead to worsening hearing loss.

Hearing is a “use it or lose it” sense. If you don’t get treated, it will get progressively worse as the brain decides that you don’t need your hearing anymore. But getting treatment early can slow the progression.

10. Not Getting a Hearing Test

In line with number 9, if you’re not getting your hearing tested, you’re increasing your risk of hearing loss. Schedule an appointment with an audiologist to find out where you stand. This doctor can help you understand what may be causing the hearing loss and how you can improve your hearing.