As we age our ears age as well. We may find it difficult to hear others during conversational speech, or we may notice that we have to turn the TV volume up a few notches than normal. Small signs like these may indicate experience of a hearing loss. Hearing loss due to aging, also known as Presbycusis is very common among adults age 65 and older. Because Presbycusis affects both ears gradually, most people do not realize that they've lost some hearing until they get a hearing test--or until a family member complains about having to repeat everything to them. Although somewhat inevitable, there are easy ways to help prevent significant hearing loss so that it does not affect one's quality of life. Here are some useful prevention tips:

1.) EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE !-I know I know, you've heard this one before. But who would of thought that your physical activity would have an effect on your hearing. Well it  does! According to a study by Dr. Sharon Curhan, MD "women who walked two hours per week had a 15 percent lower risk of hearing loss than those who walked less than one hour per week." As we know, regular exercise keeps the pounds down which helps maintain a healthy body weight. Dr. Curhan believes that the
relationship between a healthy weight and hearing is due to the cochlea's (important structure of the ear that he) dependence on blood supply, which can be affected by weight.

2.) QUIT THE HABIT-Put down the cigarettes for good! And for those of you curious about them don't start the bad habit. Along with lung disease and other respiratory issues, cigarette smoking can also affect your hearing. According to a study by the University of Manchester in England, smokers have a 15% greater risk of hearing loss compared to non-smokers. Even those who smoked on occasion had a higher risk. This study also showed that those smokers who quit smoking reduced their risk of hearing loss and going deaf.

3.) TURN DOWN THE NOISE-It's important to avoid everyday loud noises. Professionals suggest carrying foam earplugs at all times. It's also important not to blast your iPod or MP3 player. Most of these devices can reach 110dB in noise level, which can cause permanent damage to your hearing. When using headphones, we tend to crank the noise level to cancel out external sound. So next time you want to jam to your favorite song, invest in noise cancelling earplugs or headphones that are structured to block out external noise for you.

These are just a handful of helpful tips to keep your ears happy and healthy. Regular hearing tests conducted by your Audiologist are also helpful when caring for your ears.

-Natasha Gaston

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