Of all my senses, I rely on my hearing the most. I count on good hearing to keep my friendships strong and connect with my family and community. I have recently been hoping to improve my hearing, and I sure don’t want a hearing aid.
I remember as a parent protecting my child’s ears from loud noises such as fireworks and sirens. I wasn’t so careful with my own hearing. I guess, that’s why I’ve been checking out of conversations lately.
I’ve played my music too loud especially when wearing earbuds. I’ve had jobs with ringing phones and loud buzzers and bells. I’ve spent plenty of time with power tools and lawn mowers without ear plugs in.
Luckily, I’ve found some sensible and natural ways to improve my hearing. From the simple to the more complex, they really help.
I went to my doctor to see if excessive ear wax was the issue. A buildup of wax in the ear can definitely lead to serious hearing loss. Some health conditions as well as age can cause wax to get impacted in the ear.
As simple as it sounds, a good ear cleaning can really make a difference in your hearing. However, by digging in there yourself, you risk some real damage. Play it safe, and go to a medical professional.
Yoga and Stretches
One of the primary reasons hearing suffers is because of lack of blood flow and blocked nerves to the ears. Some simple yoga moves can help.
- Rotate your neck to the right and left as if you are shaking your head “no” very slowly. This is a good stretch for the side of the neck.
- Flex and extend your neck as if you are nodding “yes” very slowly. This move will stretch the front and back of your neck.
- Lie on your back with your legs at a 90 degree angle up a wall. This will move blood from your legs towards your head and generally calm your nervous system.
- Bending forward at the waist with a slight bend in your knees is another way to get the blood flowing to your head and ears.
- Some deep breathing will help increase oxygen to the blood while, again, relaxing the nervous system.
If you are unsure of some of these moves or have always wanted to try yoga for its many health benefits, check out your local parks and recreation department for some classes. There are many private yoga studios and even on-line classes just for beginners.
Improving brain function is a great way to improve your hearing naturally. It is important to make sure we challenge ourselves and keep our neurons firing in different ways. I get my brain in gear by playing games like Sodoku and Scrabble.
I push myself to learn new words and even new languages. I’ve taken up playing the ukulele just to keep my brain working. Good brain function equals good hearing.
Sometimes it is a matter of getting back in practice. As my hearing was getting worse, I found myself just not bothering to listen sometimes. I have since started to practice listening.
Here’s what works for me:
- I have someone read me a list of numbers or a sentence and try to repeat it back.
- I turn on some background music and practice filtering out the music as I have a conversation.
- I close my eyes and try to identify sounds. I try to pinpoint where they are and what is making them.
Most of us could stand to improve our diet. I didn’t realize that certain nutrients are directly related to hearing health.
Potassium regulates inner ear fluid. It is found in foods like potatoes, bananas, lima beans and spinach.
Folic Acid helps new cells grow and increases circulation. Broccoli and asparagus are good sources.
Magnesium is thought to be a protective barrier to the hairs in the inner ear which are protection against loud noises. Bananas and artichokes have magnesium.
This is the short list. Turns out, my grandma was right. Fruits and vegetable are essential for good health, and this includes my hearing.
Keep What You’ve Got
My hearing can definitely be improved. In addition, I am making a great effort to avoid damaging my hearing further.
There is a big difference between what I want to hear and harmful noise. I have progessively turned the volume down on my radio and television. This gives me a chance to practice listening, too.
Ear protection is my friend. I keep ear plugs and other ear protection in my bag, car and tool box. I put it with my sporting equipment so that it is always available. This makes it easy and convenient to protect my hearing if I’m drilling a hole, mowing the lawn or out on the shooting range.
I’m not afraid to cover my ears when an emergency vehicle is going by, either!
You can do it!
There are many ways to improve your hearing without a hearing aid. You don’t have to do them all or all at once. I started with having my doctor check for ear wax because that was the easiest for me.
Then I tried a bit of yoga. When I noticed an improvement, it motivated me to try a few other methods. Now keeping my hearing healthy is just part of my routine.
I’m looking forward to many more years of laughter and conversation with my friends and family.