We tend to associate exercise as just pertaining to running long distances or lifting weights in hopes of losing weight or building muscle. While these forms of physical activity clearly dominate the landscape of working out, it’s important to note that your hearing is a health quality that needs to be exercised once in a while, too! As hearing loss continues to affect more than 20 percent of the United States population, implementing certain lifestyle changes and healthy behaviors can not only keep your body in shape, but help your hearing stay in tact as well. Here are a few general tips to boost your auditory condition and help your ears feel as strong as your biceps.

Losing weight
While obesity is a national epidemic that can negatively affect the body in a plethora of ways, one of the relatively unknown factors linked to being overweight is hearing loss. Multiple research studies have connected obesity as a factor for higher rates of hearing loss in adolescents as well as women. Colleagues from Columbia University Medical Center analyzed how low-frequency hearing loss in teenagers is practically doubled when an adolescent is considered obese, with 15.16 percent of overweight teens being diagnosed for low-frequency hearing loss compared to 7.89 percent of those with proportional weight.

Another study conducted by doctors at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women with a waist circumference greater than 88 centimeters have a 27 percent higher likelihood of developing hearing loss compared to females with a waist circumference of 71 centimeters or less. Simply striving for 30 minutes of physical activity a day can help you shed off a few extra pounds and likely preserve your hearing.

Proper nutrition
Replenishing your body with essential vitamins and minerals helps with everything from boosting metabolism, assisting your immune system to improving cardiovascular activity. It also has been proven to possibly prevent symptoms of hearing loss from progressing. Researchers from the University of Michigan have previously explored how increasing your intake of vitamins A, C, E and magnesium an hour before being exposed to hearing damage decibel levels can be an effective measure of preventing temporary auditory impairment. Taking supplements of these nutritious minerals an hour prior to submerging yourself to high sound frequency locations, such as an airplane or a rock concert could be the difference between ringing ears or pristine hearing the next morning.

Along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding tobacco usage at all costs can also improve or stabilize your auditory condition. A study carried out by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that former and current smokers were 14 percent more likely to have low frequency hearing loss and 46 percent increased chance of high frequency hearing loss, just another reason to try and quit or stay tobacco-free.

Exercise your ears
While you won’t find too many forms of equipment or machinery designed for your ears at the gym, there are still plenty of games, activities and exercises you can do that are intended to reverse hearing loss. Play It Down is a free app available for smartphones and tablets that actually allows users to hear how music sounds to people with hearing loss, as well as experience how music will sound through your ears as you age, hopefully motivating users to adhere to proper hearing safety. The Listening and Communication Enhancement, or LACE programs, are forms of software developed by audiologists at University of California San Francisco that can allow users to boost their brain to comprehend speech up to 40 percent better in difficult listening environments through their auditory training techniques.

All of these healthy and stimulating options to reduce symptoms of hearing loss are crucial for preserving your auditory abilities in the long run. Remember, it’s never too late to start saving your hearing.

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