Healthy Hearing Can Keep You Active. Just Ask the Experts!

October 10, 2016

During the month of October, former pro athletes are joining EarQ in a social media campaign to make hearing health a priority for players and fans across the country. Through their advocacy, individuals from the NBA, WNBA, and Harlem Globetrotters are inspiring the 38 million Americans with hearing loss to take action and seek treatment!

For former athletes, the ability to hear is essential to communication and remaining active. It is not uncommon for professional athletes to experience hearing loss, and many have become important advocates by discussing how their careers and personal lives have been positively impacted by better hearing. EarQ Director of Audiology, Natalie Phillips, Au.D. explains how treating your hearing loss as early as possible can help you to stay healthy and engaged. Read on to learn more!

Healthy hearing allows you to feel more involved. Those experiencing hearing loss have the tendency to avoid social situations and activities because their loss hinders how well they can communicate with others. When you can hear well, you are more likely to get out of the house and participate in the activities you love, whether that means teaching your children about your favorite sport or enjoying an evening walk with friends. You also can feel confident knowing you won’t miss any instructions or plays.

“When you start to lose your hearing, your brain can get a little ‘lazy,’ and it takes more effort to stay involved,” says Dr. Phillips. “It is important to continue to be an active listener, be proactive and reduce as much noise as possible in your listening environment.”

Hearing loss goes hand-in-hand with other health conditions. There are a number of health conditions related to hearing loss including obesity, stress, diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, dementia, and depression. Trying to maintain an active lifestyle is more difficult when presented with any of these conditions, especially when they are in addition to hearing loss.

People with hearing health issues may also experience more frequent slips and falls caused by improper balance. This can be due to a number of things including a build-up of fluid or pressure in the ear, how sensory information is transmitted from the ear to the brain, and episodes of vertigo that occur when crystals in the ears become dislodged. This can adversely impact activity—imagine trying to make a 3 point shot while feeling dizzy!

The sooner you seek treatment, the better. Dr. Phillips explains that experiencing hearing loss is more than simply turning down the volume—it also affects the clarity of sounds, and delaying treatment makes it difficult to get that clarity back.

“When you exercise and lift weights, nerves fire to the muscle to keep it strong,” she says. “If you do not exercise, the muscle weakens or atrophies. It is similar with hearing loss. The sounds that are coming into the ear are falling short in stimulating the auditory nerve where clarity of hearing resides.”

Hearing health is important. Are you ready to join the movement? Check us out on Facebook and Twitter to learn more how healthy hearing has improved the lives of athletes and their fans.