Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Hearing Year

It's a new year. And with it come all the resolutions for losing weight, eating healthy, working out -- Like everyone else, I am vowing to continue eating well and losing weight. I've lost 22 lbs already, gaining only a couple of pounds back from holiday R & R

I confess, losing my hearing thrust me into several years of comfort eating that packed over 60 lbs. onto my body. Not gonna tell you I felt bad about it, just that I needed it at the time. But it has wreaked havoc on my body.

That excessive weight took a toll on my overall health -- none of which is good for my hearing health either. High blood pressure. Obesity palpitations. High cholesterol and triglycerides. Deep vein thrombosis and circulatory issues. Reflux disease. And the latest affliction -- early onset cataracts. Yea, me!

So like many others, I too, am planning on a healthier new year. But more than that. I am planning on a healthier hearing health, too. And I hope you do too. Here are some things you can do to make your new year hearing healthier:

Number 1: Get a baseline audiogram and hearing checkup. Everyone should know what they are hearing -- or not hearing. It's simple. Like your eyes and teeth, bones and boobs, your ears need a regular checkup, too. So get it scheduled.

Number 2: Be hearing aware. Your environment is the leading cause of hearing loss and deafness. Educate yourself and your children. Limit ear bud and headphone use. Turn down the volume of TVs, radios, and MP3 devices. Wear hearing protection in noisy workplaces and even at home when using mowers, vacuums, and other loud appliances. Remember to use hearing protection in sports stadiums and arenas, too! And those rock-and-roll concerts?! Well, enough said.

Number 3: Beware ototoxic drugs. Those ibuprofen and acetaminophen tabs you take for headaches can damage the fine hearing cells in your cochlea and cause tinnitus. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the drugs you are prescribed are ototoxic, and if they are, ask about a safer alternative. And be aware that many supplements and "natural" products, such as tea tree oil, can cause tinnitus and hearing loss, too. Once the sensory cells in your cochlea are damaged, they will not regenerate. Here is a link to check out.

Number 4: Get healthy all over. Like me, overall health plays a role in hearing loss. Smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, diet, obesity, and stress can affect your hearing health. Get healthy. And stay that way.

Number 5: Be educated. And be sensitive. Hearing loss is a silent disability - no pun intended. It is not easily seen or known by casual interactions, and therefore, it is often overlooked or dismissed as something else. Those with hearing loss are not dumb or helpless. And it is no laughing matter, so save your jokes about hearing loss just as you would any other disability or illness.

Hearing loss isn't always preventable. But there are things you can do to protect your hearing. Be proactive in taking the steps to living a more hearing healthy life. You won't regret it.

Here's to better hearing for all!

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