Previous studies in women revealed that a drop in estrogen and progesterone after menopause is responsible for hearing loss and that hormone therapy can minimize this. But the latest findings now suggest that late natural menopause and the use of oral hormonal therapies could increase the risk of hearing loss in women.
The study began in 1991 and included 80,972 women aged 27 to 44, who all completed periodic questionnaires about health status and lifestyle habits. In 2013, a total of 18,558 participants reported hearing loss.
After analyzing the results, the researchers uncovered that women who underwent natural later-life menopause (over the age of 50) had a 10 percent higher risk of hearing loss compared to women who experienced menopause earlier.
Furthermore, women who took oral hormonal therapy had a 15 percent higher risk of hearing loss if they were on the therapy for at least five years compared to non-users. And users of hormonal therapies of over 10 years had a 21 percent higher risk of hearing loss.
Additional research is still required to better determine if the use of hormones can trigger hearing loss.
Tips to boost hearing
Although hearing loss is non-reversible, there are a lot of ways you can protect and boost your hearing ability.
There are the tried-and-true ways like taking supplements, but there are also some unconventional methods. Here are a few things you can try.
Practice your hearing
Just like you’d exercise the muscles in your arms and legs or train your brain, you can also exercise your ears. Practice focusing on sounds and identifying where they are coming from.
Try holding a conversation over loud music. Focusing on hearing what the other person is saying will help strengthen your hearing.
Another thing you can do is close your eyes and have a friend walk around a room while talking to you. Try and identify where the sounds are coming from, essentially training your ability to locate objects by their sound.
Like everything else in the body, exercising is the easiest (and probably best) method of improving your hearing. And, it’s pretty easy too. You don’t have to hit up a gym and lift weights—a short walk or jog every day will do the trick.
We know you like to exercise with headphones in, but here’s a quick tip: make sure they aren’t too loud. Excessively loud music can damage the hairs in your ears, which don’t grow back.
Keep your brain healthy
The brain processes sounds that come in through the ears, so it’s important to keep it healthy. The stronger your brain cells are, the better your hearing will be.
An easy way to train your brain is to download a brain training app on your phone and do it every morning or before bed. Or you could take a more traditional approach and do some crosswords.
Spending time outside in a public place will force you to sort through different sounds, strengthening your hearing. Try and identify where certain sounds are coming from outside while you meditate in the park.