May 1, 2018

5 Ways to Support Your HEARing Health

The whir of a hummingbird. The warning of an approaching ambulance. The round of laughter after your deviously funny — and deftly delivered — wedding toast. That sublime guitar riff or soulful crescendo in your favorite song.

As we celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month in May — and the theme, “Communication for All” — it’s a great time to remember the many ways hearing makes a difference in your life. And to help you maintain those connections that matter, we’re sharing five easy tips for hearing your best.

1.      Know the Signs

Morethan 466 million children and adults have disabling hearing impairment,according to the World Health Organization,but nearly all hearing loss can be treated. One of the first steps isrecognizing the potential signs. If you experience muffled speech sounds,difficulty hearing on the phone or in a crowd, trouble understanding women’s orchildren’s voices, or complaints from loved ones about your TV or radio volume,consider a professional hearing test.

2.      Curb the Noise

Didyou know? Noise-induced hearing loss — a largely preventable public-healthproblem — affects children and adults and is on the rise, according to the Hearing Health Foundation.Whether rocking out at a summer concert, enjoying New Year fireworks, or usingpower tools, consider limiting the duration of your noise exposure and wearingquality hearing protection.

3.      Hold the Swabs

Ifyou like the feeling of a cotton swab rubbed in your ear, you’re not alone.It’s a common habit but, oh, so dangerous. Sticking objects in your ear cancause injury and push earwax farther into the ear canal. To remove excesscerumen, use a warm soft cloth after washing or showering, or soften the waxwith drops of warmed olive oil, water, or a commercial solution — as long asyou don’t have a perforated eardrum. In cases of persistent ear pain, hearingloss, or blockage of the ear canal, contact us for a professional evaluation.

4.      Bring on the Bananas

Healthyeating offers endless benefits, including better hearing wellness, so considerselected fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other key foods that can make adifference. Bananas, for example, pack potassium, which plays a role in regulating the inner-earfluid crucial to healthy hearing. Look for foods rich in vitamins and mineralssuch as A, C, E, folate, magnesium, and zinc, too.

5.      Schedule Regular Checkups

It’seasy to make better hearing a family affair by scheduling hearing evaluationsfor the whole household. How often? At least once a year, just as you would foryour eyes or teeth. Staying atop your hearing health helps catch any potentialchanges or problems early, which is important for overall wellness.

Harold Kim, M.D.



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