Whenever I realize that my speaker volume is turned up just a little too high, I tend to chalk it up to the fact that our hearing gets worse as we age. At least, that’s what I’ve always thought. But new research says that, contrary to popular belief, women of a certain age are less likely to lose their hearing than men are. Read on to find out more!
A recent study published in Aging and Health Research took a deeper look into the occurrence of hearing loss among American adults ages 65 and older. Researchers conducted surveys from 2008 to 2017 through the annual American Community Surveys program. A total of 5,359,651 people responded, and were asked whether they were deaf or had serious difficulty hearing. Researchers used this question to determine if a participant experienced hearing loss for the study data.
When the survey period was over, researchers found that overall hearing loss in the older American population decreased by 11 percent. However, women in the survey pool experienced a 10 percent decrease in hearing troubles, whereas men saw a two percent increase. The study authors explain that lifestyle factors such as smoking and working in an environment with loud noises are associated with hearing loss, which might explain why some participants saw an increased risk. They added that more research is needed to pinpoint the why older women experienced a lessened likelihood of hearing loss.
Although this study offers some reassuring news, it never hurts to develop some healthy habits to help to keep your hearing in great shape.
How can hearing loss be prevented?
Symptoms of hearing loss include muffling of words and other sounds, along with turning up the volume on the TV or radio. It’s a good idea to schedule an annual hearing test, even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms. In the meantime, here are three simple lifestyle tweaks that can help ward off hearing loss.
Change your eating habits. Research has found that the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets are ideal for preventing hearing loss, as they encourage healthy blood flow to the ears and nix inflammation. These diets focus on eating more veggies, fruits, and whole grains and reducing fat and sugar intake. Plus, you can still eat omega-3 rich fish like salmon and lean protein to satisfy your appetite during the day.
Double check your medications. Certain ototoxic medications, including aspirin and ibuprofen, have been linked with hearing loss. They can cause damage to the inner ear, which may be temporary or permanent. Speak with your doctor to find out which medications to take, and which to avoid, to prevent hearing problems.
Be mindful of certain sounds. Everyday sounds can contribute to hearing loss over time. Thankfully, easy fixes like turning down the volume while using your earbuds (which is what I’ll be doing!) and avoiding noisy situations can go a long way toward protect your hearing.
Some tweaks to your everyday routine, along with regular check-ups, can nip any hearing troubles in the bud!