How To Train and Sharpen Your Hearing
The process of hearing is complex, and it involves making sense of a wide range of sounds, which may be loud or soft, nearby, or far-away. If you learn how to sharpen your hearing, it will help you enhance your experience of the world around you. Here are some strategies to help you get “ear-fit” and learn to train your hearing.
Use your hearing aids
If your hearing health professional, or Lexie’s online hearing test, has confirmed that you have hearing loss and has recommended hearing aids, it is advised that you wear them in order to sharpen your hearing. Over time the effects of hearing loss lower your ability to hear the sounds you were able to hear before. This will make you feel as though your hearing is no longer as good as it used to be. Your hearing aids help overcome this. They are programmed to ensure that you can make the most of your hearing experience, by increasing the volume of the sounds you were not able to hear because of the hearing loss.
Do brain activities
Hearing loss cannot be reversed but its effects can be reduced if you proactively strengthen your pathways for hearing. Your understanding of sound is determined by the way your brain can process sound. Doing puzzles, such as sudoku or crosswords, encourage you to problem-solve through active thinking, strengthening the connections within your brain. When listening activities are used with hearing aids, it slows down the effects of hearing loss. Examples of listening activities you can try are;
- Hearing Memory: Ask a friend to read a story to you and to emphasize keywords from the story. Focus on how many keywords you can remember.
- Environment sounds: Travel to a location free of most man-made sounds, such as the beach or a nature trail. Listen out for environmental sounds. Remember the sounds and monitor if you can hear any of them when at work or at home.
- Music therapy: Listening to music (at a low volume) can help you hear speech sounds better. Listen to a song and focus on the lyrics. Focus on how many words from the song you were able to hear clearly. Music can also help you focus in noisy environments. Ask a friend to speak to you from across the room while music is playing. Try to filter out the music you hear and focus on what your friend is saying.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Leading a healthy lifestyle will not fix an existing hearing loss but will improve your overall health, which includes your hearing health. The activities listed below are key to improve blood circulation throughout the body. Blood is rich in oxygen, which is a food source for the cells in your body. The cells in the deepest part of your hearing system, called the inner ear, have small hair-like structures that help to process sounds. If these cells become damaged, they cannot be fixed. Keeping these cells healthy contributes to your hearing health.
- Exercise regularly, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Exercise is linked to improving your overall mood, level of fitness, and increasing blood circulation in the body.
- Eat a balanced diet and include foods that are rich in vitamins A and E. Choose a daily multivitamin that includes folic acid, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B minerals. These vitamins and minerals are linked to improving the overall circulation of blood throughout the body.
- Keep your stress levels down, as much as possible. You can do this by dedicating a few minutes every day to meditate or do yoga. Meditating and yoga involve having a tranquil state of mind and having mindful awareness of your body as well as your surroundings. This is useful for improving body health as with exercise and staying “ear-fit”. While meditating, you will be able to find it easier to focus on the different sounds in your surroundings, due to your tranquil state. Remember them, and try to locate them in your daily life. This will increase your awareness of these sounds.
These are just suggestions and you should contact your medical provider for further guidance.
Turn down the volume
Prevention is always better than cure. The simplest way to protect your hearing from damage is to limit your exposure to loud noises. Almost 26 million Americans have hearing loss due to noise exposure. Fortunately, hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises is preventable. If you are aware of the noises in your environment that are loud and damaging, you will be able to protect your hearing. It is important to wear hearing protection whenever you may be exposed to loud noise and to move away from sources of loud noise. Try not to watch television or listen to music at high levels. The volume that is appropriate is the lowest level that allows you to hear clearly.
Love your hearing health professional
Your hearing health professional will be able to provide you with expert advice on how to improve your hearing experience. If you have been fitted with hearing aids, and are unable to hear sounds as well as you could previously, your hearing loss may have changed. A visit to your hearing health professional, or taking an online hearing test, is necessary so that changes to the settings in your hearing aid can be made. Your hearing health professional will also be able to create hearing exercises for you that are specific to the hearing difficulties you may be experiencing. With this in mind, sharpening your hearing is possible if you put in the effort.