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Protect Your Hearing

May 31st is National Save Your Hearing Day.  This serves as a great reminder of the importance of our hearing.  Use this as an opportunity to learn about risk factors along with the steps you can take to protect your hearing.

Hearing loss can occur from damage to the inner ear, infection, a ruptured eardrum, and even earwax build up.  Risk factors include age, heredity, exposure to noise, and illness.

Symptoms can include hearing muffled sounds along with an inability to block out background noise.  You may find yourself asking others to repeat themselves or turning up the volume on your phone, TV, or radio.  Some of those with advanced hearing loss withdrawal from social situations as communication becomes too difficult, which can result in isolation.

Mayo Clinic provides us with the following steps that can prevent noise-induced hearing loss and avoid worsening of age-related hearing loss:

  • Protect your ears. Limiting the duration and intensity of your exposure to noise is the best protection. In the workplace, plastic earplugs or glycerin-filled earmuffs can help protect your ears from damaging noise.
  • Have your hearing tested. Consider regular hearing tests if you work in a noisy environment. If you’ve lost some hearing, you can take steps to prevent further loss.
  • Avoid recreational risks. Activities such as riding a snowmobile, hunting, using power tools or listening to rock concerts can damage your hearing over time. Wearing hearing protectors or taking breaks from the noise can protect your ears. Turning down the music volume is helpful too.

If hearing loss is affecting your everyday life, it may be time to reach out to your doctor to learn about your options.  Visit Mayo Clinic’s hearing loss page to learn more.

Do you have hearing loss?  If so, join the discussion with Mayo Connect’s hearing loss group.

Eat Smart

Eat Smart

Trying to eat smart by implementing healthier eating habits can be overwhelming. The onslaught of commercials promoting supplements and attempting to read food labels can be confusing. What should you do? Eat whole foods and be mindful of portion sizes. Whole foods are as close to their natural form as possible. They contain the micronutrients your body needs for good health. Whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, provide dietary fiber which can help prevent health issues such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Expert Insight

“Smart eating means being mindful about what you eat and it’s one of the most beneficial lifestyle choices you can make as you live with a chronic condition. Focus on making a few changes to the amount, type and frequency of the food you eat. Make subtle changes one at a time, even if it is just to cut your dessert in half or to opt for a healthier alternative. The key is to start somewhere rather than or trying to do too many things at once. Then practice it until it becomes a habit. Focus on having a mindset that this is what I am doing for my health.” – Maria Collazo-Clavell, M.D., Professor of Medicine in the Department Internal Medicine and Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, and Nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Take Action Now

  • Snack Smart. Keep vegetables washed and cut in your refrigerator for quick snacks. Keep fruit in a bowl in your kitchen so that you’ll remember to eat it.
  • Choose vegetables. Focus on recipes that have vegetables or fruits as the main ingredients, such as vegetable stir-fry or fresh fruit mixed into salads.
  • Explore seasonings. Salt isn’t your only option. Brighten flavors with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. Use balsamic or wine vinegars. Add some heat with fresh hot peppers or red pepper flakes.
  • Plan Your Plate. Pick up a free copy of the Mayo Clinic Patient Education pamphlet Eat Well: Use The Plate Method from the Patient Education Center, Siebens building, subway level.

Check out this Mayo Clinic Connect thread to share healthy eating tips and recipes and learn what others have found helpful in their healthy eating journey!