“What?” I abashedly asked my coworker to repeat herself a third time. Maybe I was just distracted. Maybe there was just too much background noise.
I never thought it could be something more than that.
Approximately 37 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss. Many of these individuals begin to lose their hearing in their early 20s but may go on for decades unaware of the problem. While some cases of hearing loss can not be corrected outside of hearing aids, others can be reduced by making changes in diet, as well as by making simple natural changes in daily routine.
To learn how you may be able to treat your hearing loss naturally and keep it from getting worse, please read further.
What Causes Hearing Loss
There are multiple causes of hearing loss. Some causes of hearing loss exist at birth such as when a patient has a fistula between the middle and inner ear. Other causes of hearing loss tend to develop over time. While many people believe that hearing loss is inevitably a result of natural aging, this should not stop anyone from taking whatever measures they can to protect their precious gift of hearing.
It is true that some hearing loss is caused by what scientists call sensorineural hearing loss. In sensorineural hearing loss, the hairs in the inner ear become damaged over time as the body processes carbohydrates for energy. In the processing of carbohydrates, free radicals are developed, and these lead to the destruction of the hairs needed for proper hearing. In addition, this type of hearing loss can be caused by disease such as meningitis, or by overexposure to loud noises.
Sensorineural hearing loss can best be treated by the use of hearing aids that can augment natural healing. If you are questioning whether or not you suffer from this sort of hearing loss, please contact a competent hearing center that can have you properly diagnosed to determine the extent of the damage.
Other causes of hearing loss are conductive in nature, and over these forms of hearing loss, we have more control. Conductive hearing loss can be caused by a multitude of factors. They may be caused by injury or disease. They may also be caused by something as simple of the build-up of excessive ear wax.
This does not mean, however, that conductive hearing loss problems are simple to fix. Far from it. For example, many people overuse Q-tips, which may, in fact, cause hearing loss in two ways. One way that overuse of Q-tips may cause hearing loss is by puncturing the eardrum. Another way in which they can lead to hearing loss is a bit more insidious.
Many people use Q-tips in an attempt to actually clean their ears from the waxy buildup that may be causing hearing loss. However, cotton swabs can actually push wax further inside the ear canal, leading to worse, not improved, hearing. Indeed, the warning on the Q-tip box itself directs users not to insert the swab into the ear canal, and yet, people continue to do so. Fortunately, there are a number of products on the market today that can substantially remove ear wax without causing further damage.
But once the damage has been done, are there natural remedies which can help? Yes, there are several which can help.
Herbs to Help Hearing Loss
Fortunately, folk wisdom has much to offer when it comes to combating hearing loss naturally. Several herbs have been traditionally used in multiple forms of medicine other than our current allopathic model to fight off hearing loss and even help repair loss that has already occurred due to conductive causes.
Gingko Biloba is an ancient herb that existed in the days of the dinosaurs. Gingko has been proven to increase blood circulation, something that is critical in reversing hearing loss as it allows vital nutrients to pour into the damaged tissue for healing. Gingko Biloba has been used for centuries to fight inflammation and the pain resulting therefrom. It has also been shown to treat Alzheimer’s patients.
When taking Gingko as a supplement, most nutritionists advise starting with approximately a 40 mg dose daily. You can find quality supplements in both pill form and in a powder form that can be mixed with food or drink.
Another herb which is excellent for treating conductive hearing loss is echinacea. Echinacea or American Coneflower has been widely regarded in the states as a cold and flu remedy. And with good cause. Echinacea is also another excellent anti-inflammatory and pain-killing herb.
Echinacea can be found in pill, liquid or powder form. The taste is rather harsh, so it is recommended not to take echinacea as an addition to food or drink. However, the results are well worth a bit of “bitter beer” taste. Echinacea dries up the sinus tissues, which make up a good part of the ear canal. Therefore, hearing loss which stems from inflammation due to disease may well be treated with this wonderful herb.
Ginger is another excellent herb to help combat hearing loss. Ginger likewise helps to stimulate blood flow. In addition, ginger is a powerful antioxidant that can help to counteract some of the effects of free radicals. While on its own it will not remedy hearing loss, it can be a powerful tool to help you to retain your hearing, especially if you’ve just started to notice concerns.
Turmeric is another excellent anti-inflammatory herb. It has been used throughout the centuries in Asian cultures for its curative properties. Similar to ginkgo, it can help relieve inflammation of the sinus tissues, which can lead to greater healing. It also helps to stimulate the blood circulation to bring vital healing nutrients to the area that needs us both. It ameliorates the healing of damaged tissues and can help repair some of the damages that free radicals cause.
Best Practices to Protect Your Hearing
Of course, when it comes to your sense of hearing, common sense is truly the best physician. There are some simple practices that you can easily integrate into your day to day life that can help protect your precious ears.
The most obvious thing you can do to protect your ears is to avoid excessive exposure to noise. This can be more easily said than done. Noise surrounds us daily, and not all of us are consciously aware of it.
To see how much you really aren’t hearing, try the following exercise: turn off all known sources of sound currently surrounding you. And then simply listen. Really listen. You will be shocked at the complexity of sounds you can hear. It may be the drip of a faucet or the hum of the overhead fluorescent lights. We are immersed in a cacophony of sounds.
There are other exercises you might try as well besides just turning down the volume. Acupuncture has long been utilized in eastern medicine, and many practitioners believe that acupressure offers many of the same benefits. Acupuncture and acupressure both work on the philosophy that the body has meridians, or energy channels, which can get blocked. Releasing these energy channels allows chi, or energy, to flow through the body efficiently, alleviating many ailments.
Acupuncturists advise that there are two points you may try to get relief from your hearing loss. The first is right next to your ankle. There is a bit of a divot between where your ankle bone is and where your foot begins. Try adding pressure to that area, gently, for two to three minutes.
The other acupressure point to try is located right in front of your ear when you open your jaw slightly. There is a minor depression there, which you can activate to help you with hearing loss.
Understand that hearing loss can start at any age — many people mistakenly think of hearing loss as something that comes on in old age. I started to struggle with my hearing at the young age of roughly 18 years old. I remember being in high school and wondering why I had such a harder time hearing people on the telephone than my friends and family.
It’s disappointing to discover you’re suffering from hearing loss, especially at a young age. Our ability to hear sounds and respond to them becomes so important to our daily wellbeing and survival if we’ve never experienced hearing loss before. When it comes on, it can really confuse and upset the sufferer. But regardless of the cause of your hearing loss, there is hope. Please do not give up your search.
It is important that you start taking initiatives to live a healthier life when it comes to your hearing. You don’t want to put yourself at risk for even more serious forms of hearing loss such as sudden deafness. Sudden hearing loss isn’t as common, but about 90% of people who experience it will lose hearing in one of their ears for good.
You don’t want to ignore the signs and end up with an even worse problem. Be proactive and start taking care of your ears today. There are plenty of natural ways to improve your hearing and set yourself up for a healthier relationship with the sounds around you.
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