Hand holding hearing protection earmuffs that can prevent hearing loss.

Chances are you’ve already noticed that you don’t hear as well as you once did. In most cases, we don’t even recognize that our choices are negatively affecting our hearing.

With a few basic lifestyle changes, many kinds of hearing loss can be avoided. What follows are 6 secrets that will help you maintain your hearing.

1. Regulate Your Blood Pressure

Consistently high blood pressure is not okay. A study found that individuals with higher than-average blood pressure are 52% more likely to have hearing loss, not to mention other health issues.

Take steps to reduce your blood pressure and prevent hearing damage. Don’t dismiss high blood pressure or wait to consult a doctor. Following your doctor’s guidance, managing stress, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise are all parts of blood pressure management.

2. Stop Smoking

There are plenty of reasons to quit smoking, here’s another: Hearing loss is 15% more likely to affect smokers. What’s even more alarming is that there’s a 28% higher chance of someone experiencing hearing issues if they are frequently subjected to second-hand smoke. Even if you go away from the room, smoke hangs around for long periods of time with hazardous consequences.

Consider safeguarding your hearing, if you’re a smoker, by quitting. Take steps to decrease your exposure to second-hand smoke if you hang out around a smoker.

3. Manage Your Diabetes

Diabetes or pre-diabetes impacts one in four adults. Unless they make some serious lifestyle changes, someone who is pre-diabetic will probably develop diabetes within 5 years.

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

If you have diabetes, take the steps necessary to correctly manage 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 isn’t about body image or feeling great about yourself. It’s about your health. As your Body Mass Index (BMI) goes up, so does your possibility of hearing loss and other health conditions. The chance of developing hearing loss goes up by 17% for a mildly obese woman with a BMI of 30 to 34. For an individual with a BMI of 40 (moderate obesity), the risk goes up to 25%.

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

5. OTC Medicines Shouldn’t be Overused

Certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications can result in hearing loss. The more frequently these drugs are used over a prolonged period of time, the higher the risk.

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

If you’re taking the suggested dose for the periodic headache, studies indicate you’ll probably be fine. Using them every day, however, increases the risk of hearing loss by up to 40% for men.

Always follow your doctor’s advice. Your doctor may be able to suggest some lifestyle changes that will reduce your dependence on these medicines if you are using them every day.

6. Eat More Broccoli

Broccoli is high in nutrients and vitamins including C and K and also has lots of iron. Iron is essential to blood circulation and a healthy heart. Nutrients and oxygen are transported to your cells which helps keep them nourished and healthy and iron is a major part of this process.

For vegetarians or individuals who don’t eat much meat, eating a sufficient amount of plant-based iron is important. You’re more likely to be iron deficient because the iron found in plants is less bioavailable than the iron found in meat.

More than 300,000 individuals were examined by Pennsylvania State University. The researchers determined participants with anemia (extreme iron deficiency) were two times as likely to experience sensorineural hearing loss as those without the condition. Sensorineural hearing loss is the scientific term for irreversible hearing loss associated with aging.

Sound is picked up and sent to the brain by fragile little hairs in the inner ear which vibrate with the volume and frequency of that sound. If these hair cells die due to poor circulation or other concerns arising from iron deficiency, they won’t grow back.

You’re never too young to have your hearing examined, so don’t wait until it gets worse. Apply these steps to your life and reduce hearing loss.