Better Hearing & Speech Month: Natural Ways to Promote Hearing Health

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, which provides a great opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and hearing health. Promoted annually by the American-Language-Hearing-Association, this year’s theme is “Communication Across the Lifespan.” What better way to spread awareness than understanding natural ways to promote hearing health?

Although natural remedies and diet-based strategies to improve or maintain hearing cannot replace professional treatment when facing pronounced hearing loss, there are things worth doing to maintain hearing health.

Certain minerals, herbs, and habits are known to be beneficial. Likewise, some things are to be avoided (and not just the obvious things like loud noise and not using ear protection).

For example, a number of medications are known to have adverse side effects on the hearing of some individuals; they are known as ototoxic drugs. Tinnitus is the most common side effect, though more serious complications are possible. There are lists of ototoxic drugs that can be referenced and, when needed, alternatives should be explored.

Heavy consumption of alcohol is also known to cause hearing issues — including possible long-term damage to the tiny hairs inside the ear that are crucial to hearing.

On a more positive note, brain games are a way to maintain or improve the ability to better understand sounds. Voices especially not only have to be heard, but ultimately processed efficiently. Websites like Lumosity and organizations like AARP have resources for exercising brain function.

Then there are certain herbs that humans have consumed for countless generations that are believed to have a positive impact on hearing health.

Blood circulation is vital to the operation of the ears and Ginkgo biloba is known to have a positive impact. Ginger is a strong antibiotic that will inhibit ear infections. Likewise, echinacea enhances the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties that can help ears get through bouts of sickness.

Many hearing issues demand medical attention, but maintaining general overall hearing health can be pursued outside of the medical office.

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