More than two-thirds of folks over 60 have lost some hearing, and protecting it is important since a new study finds it also protects your brain! Here’s are a few simple ways to prevent hearing loss.
Dig into a banana split!
That banana split was delicious — and it helped preserve your hearing! Bananas are packed with potassium, which regulates fluid in the inner ears and helps convert sounds into signals to the brain. “Potassium also maintains the health of blood vessels that supply needed micronutrients to the inner ear”, says Brian Earl, Ph.D., director of EARLAB at the University of Cincinnati. Indeed, boosting potassium cuts the chance of hearing loss by 60 percent.
Blend margaritas like this.
Summer is surprisingly risky for hearing. That’s because we expose the delicate structures of the ear to damaging sounds from lawn mowers and even margarita blenders, endangering hearing with levels of sound at least 150 percent higher than safe — nearly as much as a rock concert! “Noise-induced hearing loss is actually more common than age-related hearing loss — and it’s completely preventable”, says Dr. Earl. His simple solution: Pop in the same basic earplugs you’d use for sleeping for noisy activities around the yard and home. Tip: Hearing-aid wearers can leave theirs in-ear simply turned off.
Pamper with warmth.
Japanese researchers recently found that keeping ears free of wax not only improved hearing, it boosted brain performance! Explains Dr. Earl, “Regions of the brain that are responsible for hearing are close neighbors to the regions in which memories are processed.” Keep ears clear with a couple drops of warmed olive oil in each ear once a week. The treatment softens wax, allowing your body to remove it safely.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.