The ability to hear the sounds around us is something too many people take for granted. Hearing provides us with the ability to communicate with people close to us and enjoy some of our favorite activities. From listening to your favorite music, podcast, or audiobook, all of these activities require us to have the capability to hear the sounds being produced by these types of entertainment.
However, not everyone is fortunate enough to experience these pleasures in life. Hearing loss has become a growing problem in the global population. The idea of hearing loss is something that would worry anyone, especially if they become disconnected from the things they love and enjoy. Rightfully so, the amount of people that are experiencing some level of hearing loss has become a growing concern amongst health professionals.
Noise-induced hearing loss is prevalent in U.S. adults, with reports from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claiming that 40 million US adults aged 20 to 69 years are affected by this issue. Hearing loss has become the third most common chronic health condition in the United States. People who listen to sounds at high decibels can damage their hearing over time. They may even contract other hearing issues like tinnitus, along with their hearing loss.
Of course, with hearing loss becoming a concern among many people, the attempt to preserve one’s hearing in some way is sought by many. Ear training exercises are a possible way for people to maintain and improve their hearing to some extent. While it won’t assist the person with reaching the hearing levels they previously had, it can help with keeping your sense of hearing at its best.
Preventing the gradual decline of hearing is possible with these ear training exercises. For this article, let’s go over the best ear training exercises to maintain, strengthen, and sharpen your hearing.
Yoga is an exercise that has been utilized for thousands of years and has shown several health benefits both mentally and physically. While this may seem like a shock to most people, yoga has been demonstrated to be beneficial when it comes to your hearing health. According to the Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy, yoga is capable of providing a positive change in individuals with sensorineural hearing loss or at least enhancing quality of life.
Practitioners of yoga also suggest that yoga exercises can help with preventing hearing loss and decreasing symptoms. It does so by augmenting blood flow to the cochlea and preventing neurotransmitter injury. The research further claims that specific yoga poses can assist a person with increasing the circulation in the ears and brain, which may help refine nerve function. A study published in the International Archives of Otorhinolaryngology also suggests that yoga could potentially help with diminishing the symptom of tinnitus, which some experts believe to be exacerbated by stress. Studies also show that yoga has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety in people.
If you decide to practice yoga, it could lead to your neck muscles becoming more relaxed, which is said to help free up blood flow to the ears. Relaxing the neck muscles may help prevent hearing loss and tinnitus while improving nerve function within the ears. Yoga exercises such as spine extension, deep breathing, and relaxing of the neck muscles can have a significant impact on your hearing. These exercises are capable of increasing the oxygen supply and blood flow of the inner ear.
Yoga is capable of doing far more than relaxing your muscles and improving blood flow. It has also been shown to help a person who has low gamma-aminobutyric acids (GABA), a neurotransmitter. Clinical studies have shown that people with less GABA were potentially more susceptible to anxiety, depression, stress, and tinnitus. Interestingly enough, a study discovered that GABA increases in the brain by 27% after a single sixty-minute session of yoga.
The brain is an integral part of our body, and it holds a vital role in our communication. The brain has two primary components to a sense of hearing. The organs can relay information to the brain, which in turn translates the message into intelligible sound. As we grow, our brain experiences something called neural slowing, which means our brains are slowing down. Neural slowing is commonly observable in older adults, with potential declines for sensory, motor, and cognitive domains. One of the many side effects of neural slowing is that, at times, our brains cannot follow the faster moving parts of speech.
That degrading processing capability is particularly intensified in environments where there is a lot of background noise. Northwestern University researchers discovered that specialized auditory-based training for older people helps with counteracting neural slowing and refine the ability to hear, remember, and understand speech while in a loud environment.
Activities and stimulation to the brain are some things that become increasingly vital as you age. To keep your brain stimulated, you should consider conducting some brain games that will ensure your mind remains active. Fortunately, there are countless games out there that can help you stimulate your brain. Many logic games or strategy games can help, and you can do it on either a smartphone, tablet, personal computer, or on a piece of paper.
Puzzles like crosswords and sudoku are excellent brain games you can play, especially since you can easily find them on newspapers or phone apps. Memory games using playing cards are also ideal choices. Rubik’s cubes also help with exercising your mind and grant a person hours of pattern recognition and problem-solving exercises. There are also more social options available, such as chess, checkers, and backgammon. Any brain game that requires memory or strategy may be suitable. Just make sure to pick the ones that stimulate your brain and offer enjoyment.
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Staying active is essential not only for improving your ear health, but also to achieve the best health for your mind and body. Remaining active each day improves your well-being in all sorts of ways. While it’s not necessary to run marathons, most people should exercise or exert some energy daily; they should pick an exercise that keeps them active. Something like walking, jogging, swimming, or biking could be excellent exercises. These activities are all capable of pumping your blood and improving circulation. The idea is to stick with it and make exercise a part of your daily routine.
Exercising is excellent for the blood circulation to your inner ears. The parts in your inner ear that let you hear sounds, such as the cochlea, benefit tremendously from the increased blood flow. The cochlea is an essential component of your auditory system since it’s used to convert sound vibrations into nerve impulses.
If you are not used to exercising, there are small amounts of exercises you could do at least two times a week that can still have some positive impact on your hearing loss. However, make sure not to do your exercises while blasting loud music during the workout. Loud noises can damage your inner ear cells, and they are incapable of growing back. If the people around you can hear the music while you are wearing headphones, then that is a good indicator that you have the volume turned up too loud.
Meditation is a practice that has been around longer than most nations on the planet. The practice has numerous studies supporting its capability to benefit a person’s health in all sorts of manners. Meditation has a long history of enhancing calmness, physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, managing illness, and improving overall health and well-being.
Most people are surprised when they find out that meditation is capable of managing hearing loss. When you meditate in silence and turn your attention within, you help your body regulate blood pressure, blood flow and stabilize other physiological processes. Meditation can lower your stress levels and may minimize potential harmful impacts on your bodily system.
Meditation is a simple yet effective practice that encourages relaxation and increases blood flow to the brain. When a person manages to tune into the sounds surrounding them, such as birds singing or wind blowing through the trees, they inadvertently exercise the ears. Utilizing sounds for meditation allows you to become more attuned to them throughout the day. Gradually, the subconscious mind will help you notice more diminutive sounds that may have previously gone unnoticed before.
Taking your meditation sessions at a park or other public areas allows you to surround yourself with all sorts of noises. While you meditate, taking deep breaths helps oxygenate the blood and increase blood circulation. Focus in and out on each sound in the surrounding area and attempt to locate where each sound is coming from. The exercise will help you focus on interpreting sounds in a loud environment and determining the location of each one of those sounds.
Practice locating sounds
Most people are not aware of the fact that the ears are not the only ones playing a crucial role in picking up sounds. The brain also holds a significant and critical role when it comes to processing sounds. A person can optimize their brain’s capabilities to execute its function by training it to concentrate on particular sounds. Exercises that require you to listen for sounds are an effective way to sharpen the brain’s ability to locate and translate sounds. There are several ways you can attempt this particular ear training exercise.
For the first one, consider turning on some music in one room and walk around as you closely pay attention to the subtle noise difference you hear as you move about the area. Focus on understanding the lyrics of the song and identify the different instruments in the music. Pause to change the volume every once in a while, as well as the room where you practice this ear training exercise.
The second exercise involves creating background noise by utilizing two sound sources such as a TV in one part of the room and a radio in another part of the room. Turn on some music and set it on a low volume. Then turn on the TV to a comfortable listening volume. The two varying sound sources develop a noisy environment. Try to focus and listen to one while the other plays in the background.
Lastly, you can ask a family member to read some sentences from a news article or book and move around the room. As that’s happening, you should close your eyes and listen closely to what they say. Repeat the words out loud and try to work out the direction the words are coming from.
These are just some of the few exercises you can perform at your home when you want to exercise your hearing.
Hearing training apps
Smartphones have managed to redefine how people interact in today’s world. These devices have provided people with all sorts of software solutions that have made their lives easier. Exercise apps are some of the more popular apps downloaded by countless people who wish to improve their well-being. They help people improve their bodies and keep track of their daily routines. Ear training exercises and sound therapies are just one of the many things created to help people improve themselves and their quality of life. These hearing training apps are used to exercise a person’s ears and hope to prevent hearing from gradually worsening.
AudioCardio is one of these hearing training apps that has managed to appear on the market with the intent of assisting people with their hearing. AudioCardio’s patented technology creates a personalized sound therapy that stimulates and strengthens the inner ear cells which are responsible for transmitting sound to the brain. The app is non-invasive and can be accessed and used anywhere, anytime through a smartphone or tablet.
Proprietary Threshold Sound Conditioning technology allows the user to personalize their inaudible sound therapy in just a few short steps. Once the user has created a personalized sound therapy, they can listen to it while they do other activities since it doesn’t require active engagement and is inaudible. Over time, the users should notice the progress they are acquiring from exercising their ears with AudioCardio. After a few weeks of using this app, the user should notice hearing the sound therapy that was once inaudible. This personalization of the sound therapy and subsequent exercises should be repeated to continue making progress.
Every one of these ear training exercises mentioned above has been known to help maintain, strengthen and sharpen your hearing over time. Although they require consistency, results should start to show if you stick with them. The only way you can improve your hearing and prevent them from worsening over time is by taking the initiative to better manage your hearing health and remaining proactive with your ear training exercises.