Here we are again at the end of another year — it’s just about time to solidify those New Year’s resolutions! 2016 has come and gone, have you thought of what your 2017 resolutions might be? If eating healthier, getting in shape or quitting smoking are on your list you may be headed towards better overall health — and better hearing. Increase your chances of success in your resolutions and therefore increase your chances of a healthier life!
Eating Better and Exercising
Obesity can wreak havoc on your body and the systems that support it — being overweight strains your circulatory system and puts you at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes as well as certain types of cancer. According to a study conducted at Columbia University Medical Center, obese teenagers have double the risk of developing one-sided, low-frequency hearing loss. Another study conducted at the Brigham and Young Women’s Hospital found that women with higher BMIs and waist circumferences also had a higher risk for developing hearing loss.
Excess weight makes it more difficult for your heart to pump blood throughout your body, especially sensitive structures of the inner ear which rely on healthy blood flow to work properly. Damage may happen to the blood vessels in the inner ear from high blood glucose levels in those with diabetes. The science is undeniable — a healthier waistline means a healthier life.
But it’s not all bad news. Keeping active and maintaining a healthy weight can help preserve hearing health! The more circulation your body gets the more oxygen gets to your body and especially to your auditory system. So how can you trim your waistline and get in better shape? Consistency. Make sure to get 30 minutes of exercise a day — it could be walking, weight lifting or even dancing! Just get your body moving and your blood flowing. Don’t underestimate the power of a healthy snack — replace chips with carrots and ice cream with yogurt. If you consistently snack healthier the rest of your diet will follow.
It is unbelievable how much smoking can damage your hearing. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, of the more than 3,000 adults who participated those who smoked were almost twice as likely to have hearing loss than those who did not. Nonsmokers who lived with a smoker were also more likely to develop hearing loss than those who lived with nonsmokers.
Medical professionals believe that the nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes restrict blood flow, which prevents oxygen from circulating effectively in your inner ear. The lack of blood flow can damage the sensory hair cells of the cochlea, which translate the noise your ears collect into electrical impulses for the brain to interpret.
Quitting doesn’t have to happen all at once though — going “cold turkey” can be exceptionally difficult and your body needs help to quit. One thing you can do is designate an area for smoking so nobody else is affected by the smoke. The second thing you can do is clean your home, office and car — a clean smelling environment will help you be successful. Lastly do some research and ask your physician about quitting programs, nicotine-replacement therapies and medications that may help you quit this New Years!
It’s never too late to start living a healthier life and with better eating habits, an improved exercise regimen or a smoke-free life you may actually be actively saving your hearing. Make your resolutions a reality and help out your hearing health this year!