Keep Your Ears Happy

1. Tackle earwax
You produce more earwax as you get older and too much can muffle sounds (a common cause of hearing loss). Ears are self-cleaning as long as the wax doesn’t harden. If it does, put a drop or two of olive oil in your ear overnight to soften it (protect your pillow with a towel).

2. Treat Snoring
If you or your partner snores, take action to resolve it and wear earplugs to bed. At close range, snoring can reach 90 dB – louder than a road drill. In one small study at Queen’s University, Canada, all four bed partners of chronic snorers had noise-induced hearing loss in one ear – the one nearest the snorer.

3. Cut Down on Saturated Fat
It raises cholesterol levels, which can worsen atherosclerosis and accelerate hearing loss due to reduced blood flow to the inner ear. When doctors at the Hospital El Bierzo in Spain, tested 180 people aged over 65 with hearing impairment, they found that those with high cholesterol had significantly worse hearing loss.

4. Get Enough Exercise
Scientists at Miami University in the US, have shown that two months of aerobic exercise training in relatively unfit volunteers increased hearing sensitivity as well as cardiovascular fitness. Don’t exercise while listening to loud music – apart from the noise level itself, Swedish scientists have shown that combining loud music with exercise may increase hearing damage.

5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
A study of 2111 people aged 49 to 99 at Vanderbilt University in the US revealed those whose diets included more foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin (a B vitamin), magnesium and lycopene (found in high concentration in tomatoes) had better hearing. Oily fish also seem to convey protection for hearing.

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