As we get older there are all kinds of daily practices and techniques that are recommended to help preserve health and independence. With age, of course, comes an increased risk for a variety of ailments and health conditions that can make everyday life more strenuous and challenging.
A good example of this is hearing loss. Hearing loss typically develops quite gradually which can make it difficult for the affected individual to detect. As a result, people with hearing loss are often making accommodations to cope with hearing loss without even fully realizing it and the condition continues to go untreated. This is a dangerous situation as hearing loss cannot be reversed.
However, there are a variety of activities that older adults can implement into their lifestyle to sustain hearing and overall health.
Activities and Exercises for Hearing Health
There are countless activities recommended for seniors to include in their daily routines to help keep their bodies and minds strong. Among those, there are several practices that focus directly on hearing health. Some helpful activities include:
- Brain games
- Exercise routines
- Yoga for Hearing
- Routine hearing tests
The brain plays a substantial role in hearing ability. It is responsible for interpreting and translating the impulses received by the ear into sounds we can recognize and understand. Much like the muscles in your body, the brain needs regular stimulation and exercise to stay healthy. Games and activities that can keep the brain active can help prevent degeneration. Individual games that can be helpful include solving puzzles, crosswords, word searches, scrabble, chess, and sudoku to name a few. Cards and board games are also great social activities that keep the brain sharp. Regular social interaction is crucial to maintaining hearing and overall health.
The body and mind are inseparable and both need routine exercise to support a healthy balance. Physical exercise is necessary to get the blood flowing and improve circulation. Blood circulation is vital to hearing as the components of the inner ear require it to function. The cochlea converts sound waves to electrical impulses for the brain to interpret and this process is improved by increased blood flow. It is a good idea to find a physical activity you enjoy so it doesn’t feel burdensome. It can even be something as low impact as walking or gardening.
Yoga for Hearing
If yoga is your preferred activity, there are certain yoga poses that can help support hearing health. This is again achieved by increasing blood flow to the brain and ears which enhances nerve function and helps detoxify cells. Yoga poses suggested for hearing health include the tree, triangle, camel, and cobra.
Regular exercise and a balanced diet go hand in hand in achieving a healthy lifestyle. Although there is no specific food that can prevent hearing loss, a nutrient-rich diet can help contribute to better hearing. Research shows that the risk of hearing loss increases with a lack of vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and zinc, magnesium, selenium, iron, and iodine. Individuals with high cholesterol, high fat and sugar intake, and low protein intake are also at greater risk for hearing loss.
Meditation is a mindful practice that focuses on deep relaxation and regulating blood flow. Sitting in silence on focusing on your inner processes helps reduce stress and external chatter. Concentrating on hearing while meditating helps you become more attuned to the sounds around you. It can also help you detect sounds that previously went unnoticed. You can then alternate your focus between your internal system and the sounds in your environment.
Routine Hearing Tests
It is recommended after the age of 60 to get your hearing checked on a regular basis. This helps diagnose hearing loss that may have otherwise been overlooked. Healthy life practices and routine exams by a hearing professional can help prevent permanent hearing loss.