Hand holding hearing protection earmuffs that can prevent hearing loss.

Chances are you’ve already observed that you don’t hear as well as you used to. Hearing loss frequently develops due to decisions you make without knowing they’re impacting your hearing.

Many types of hearing impairment are avoidable with a few basic lifestyle changes. What follows are 6 secrets that will help you protect your hearing.

1. Manage Your Blood Pressure

It’s not good if your blood pressure stays high. A study revealed that hearing loss was 52% more likely with people who have above average blood pressure and they’re more likely to have other health issues also.

Avoid injury to your hearing by taking steps to lower your blood pressure. Don’t ignore high blood pressure or wait to see a doctor. Blood pressure management includes correct diet, exercise, stress management, and following your doctor’s advice.

2. Quit Smoking

Here’s another reason to quit: Hearing loss is 15% more likely to affect smokers. What’s even more surprising is that there’s a 28% higher chance of someone experiencing hearing issues if they are regularly subjected to second-hand smoke. Even if you leave the room, smoke remains for long periods of time with detrimental repercussions.

If you smoke, protect your hearing and consider quitting. If you hang out with a smoker, take measures to decrease your exposure to second-hand smoke.

3. Control Your Diabetes

One in four adults is either pre-diabetic or diabetic. A pre-diabetic individual is extremely likely to get diabetes within 5 years unless they make significant lifestyle changes.

Blood vessels that are damaged by high blood sugar don’t effectively carry nutrients. A diabetic person is more than two times as likely to cope with hearing loss compared to a non-diabetic person.

If you have diabetes, take the steps required to correctly control it. If you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, protect your hearing by making lifestyle changes to prevent it.

4. Lose Some Weight

This is more about your health than feeling good about how you look. Hearing loss and other health conditions rise as your Body Mass Index (BMI) increases. A slightly obese woman (with a 30 to 34 BMI) has a 17% increased chance of getting hearing loss. A moderately obese person has a 25% chance of hearing loss if they have a BMI of 40.

Take steps to lose that extra weight. Your life can be prolonged and your hearing can be safeguarded by something as basic as walking for 30 minutes every day.

5. OTC Medicines Shouldn’t be Overused

Hearing loss can be the result of some over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The more frequently these drugs are taken over a prolonged period of time, the greater the risk.

Typical over-the-counter medications that affect hearing include aspirin, NSAIDs (such as naproxen, ibuprofen), and acetaminophen. Use these medicines in moderation and only with your doctor’s guidance if you need to take them more frequently.

Studies show that you’ll probably be okay if you’re using these medications periodically in the recommended doses. Using them daily, however, increases the chance of hearing loss by as much as 40% for men.

Your doctor’s guidance should always be followed. But if you’re taking these medications every day to deal with chronic pain or thin your blood, speak with your doctor about lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your dependence on OTC drugs.

6. Eat More Broccoli

Broccoli is packed with iron in addition to essential nutrients like vitamins C and K. Iron is essential to blood circulation and a healthy heart. Iron helps your blood carry nutrients and oxygen to cells to keep them nourished and healthy.

If you’re a vegetarian or eat very little meat, it’s important that you consume enough plant-based iron. The iron found in plants is not as bioavailable as the iron in meat so people in this group are more likely to be deficient in iron.

Pennsylvania State University researchers studied over 300,000 people. Individuals who have anemia (severe iron deficiency) are twice as likely, according to this research, to experience sensorineural hearing loss than individuals who have typical iron concentrations. Age-related irreversible hearing loss is what the technical term “sensorineural hearing loss” refers to.

The inner ear has tiny hair cells that pick up sounds and communicate with the brain to transmit the volume and frequency of those sounds. If poor circulation or an iron deficiency causes these little hairs to die they will never grow back.

You’re never too young to get your hearing examined, so don’t wait until it gets worse. Prevent hearing loss by implementing these simple tips in your everyday life.