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10 tips to help prevent hearing loss

From the notes of your favorite song, to the voice of your child or grandchild, important discussions at work or birds chirping outside your window, hearing the world around you is a valued part of life. Yet 15% of adults in the U.S. have trouble hearing.1 The good news? You can take steps toward hearing protection and preventing hearing loss. Start with the 10 lifestyle and diet tips for hearing protection below.

  1. Use ear plugs. Loud noises from concerts, power tools and even a fireworks display can expose your ears to dangerous sound levels. Ear plugs are a convenient solution to help reduce noise exposure. Consider having a pair of ear plugs custom fitted for your ears if you're continuously exposed to loud noises.
  2. Turn down the volume. Regular exposure to loud noises - like from your radio, headphones or television - is one of the most common and preventable causes of hearing loss. Make it a habit to control the volume and reduce exposure to loud noises when you can.
  3. Enjoy quiet time. Give your ears a chance to rest if you're exposed to loud sounds for an extended period of time.
  4. Ditch the cotton swabs. Putting anything inside your ear canal can increase the risk of damage to your ear drum. A little ear wax is actually helpful since it can help block particles, like dust, from entering your ears. If you think you have excess ear wax, though, discuss ear wax removal options with your primary doctor.
  5. Be cautious with medications. Certain medications may contribute to hearing loss. Be sure to take all medications as directed and discuss any potential hearing risks with your doctor.
  6. Keep your ears dry. Infections may occur when the ear canal is exposed to excess moisture. Protect your ears by gently drying them with a towel after swimming or bathing. If you swim regularly, consider wearing special ear plugs designed to help keep your ears dry.
  7. Stay active. Regular exercise is not only good for your overall health, but your hearing may benefit, too. Activities like walking, running, dancing, playing tennis or cycling help get the blood pumping to all parts of your body, including your ears.
  8. Reduce stress. High levels of anxiety and stress can put pressure on your body, including your ears. In fact, high stress levels may contribute to tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.
  9. Maintain a healthy diet to lower risk of hearing loss. Focus on filling your plate with fruits and vegetables, foods rich in folic acid (think spinach and broccoli), potassium (like bananas and black beans), zinc (almonds, dark chocolate and pork) and magnesium (tomatoes and potatoes).
  10. Get regular hearing screenings. Since hearing loss often comes on slowly, over time, it's important to have your hearing tested regularly. Early diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss can improve your chances of returning to normal hearing.

Remember that you can use the CareCredit credit card to help pay for hearing health care, including tests, services, products and accessories. Use the Acceptance Locator or download the CareCredit Mobile App to find a hearing provider near you that accepts the CareCredit credit card.

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