Exercise is beneficial to everyone, it keeps your body healthy and your mind sharp. Kelly, our Senior Audiologist and owner at Hearing Sense, is a big advocate for exercise and she even teaches fitness classes outside of clinic hours.
Did you know that you can exercise your hearing just like you can exercise your muscles (and sometimes both at the same time)? With 2021 fast approaching you may have made it a New Year’s resolution to get in shape. Well, why not add some exercises to your routine to keep your hearing in tip-top shape.
Why exercise your ears?
Your ears and the part of your brain responsible for hearing can become lazy without regular stimulation. The condition is known as auditory deprivation. It occurs when hearing loss keeps you from hearing a full range of sounds.
As you may already know, during the time between the onset of your hearing loss and the decision to finally get hearing aids your ears became accustomed to a smaller range of sounds. As a result, the part of your brain responsible for translating those sounds became weaker from the lack of use.
Hearing exercise and hearing aids
Hearing aids can retrain your brain to hear sounds you may have lost the ability to hear. When used in combination with high-quality hearing aids (which aid in acoustic stimulation), listening exercises and activities may slow the effects of hearing loss and greatly improve your hearing capacity. Hearing aids can provide some of the best exercise for your ears by stimulating remaining inner ear hair cells, this process is called Auditory Stimulation. The amplification hearing aids deliver provides the “brain boost” your ears need to send sound waves to the auditory region of the brain, where it’s processed as recognizable sound. If hearing loss is left untreated, the part of the brain that process auditory signals can atrophy or reassign itself to focus on other brain functions, making it much harder to hear.
Read below for five activities that can improve your hearing. Some of them may surprise you!
Your ears receive sounds, but your brain processes all the wonderful, (and maybe not so wonderful,) sounds that you hear. So, keeping your brain healthy can help to keep your hearing healthy too. Puzzles like Sudoku, crosswords, and word searches help to maintain healthy brain tissue and the neural connections necessary for processing sensory information.
Stress and anxiety can also negatively impact your brain, which may negatively impact your hearing. Find a quiet spot, close your eyes and focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Doing this for as little as five minutes a day may help improve your brain’s ability to process sounds.
- Daily Physical Exercise
Daily physical exercise can increase blood circulation in your ears and brain, which helps to improve nerve functions and remove wastes and toxins from your body. Note: If you are exercising while listening to music through headphones, be sure not to turn the music up too loud as this can damage your hearing over time. Yoga is a recommended exercise to improve your hearing; it combines the relaxation of meditation with the health benefits of a good workout!
- Sound Focus Exercise
One of the best ways to maintain your hearing health is to practice hearing! Find two sound sources of your choosing, such as a radio or a phone, and place each one in a different part of a room. Turn up the volume on both sound sources to create a noisy, (but still hearing-safe,) environment. Have someone walk around the room reading a piece of text. Close your eyes and try to repeat the text back to the person sentence by sentence.
- Sound Location
This exercise can help improve how fast you locate the source of different sounds, which is essential when communicating with others in noisy environments. Use an object that makes a repetitive or consistent noise and have someone hide it somewhere in a noisy environment. Follow the sound as best as you can to locate the object.
These exercises are simple and fun ways to sharpen your hearing. However, if you suspect that you are suffering from hearing loss, or would like more information on how to prevent hearing loss, we are here to help! At Hearing Sense, we offer FREE hearing tests for adults. We pride ourselves on not only helping our clients hear better but also improving their quality of life. Better hearing isn’t just about hearing sounds clearer, it’s about being able to communicate with your loved ones, regaining your independence, and enjoying life.
For more information, or to book your FREE appointment, give us a call on 8331 8047.