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Preventing Arthritis-Related Hearing Loss

By Lauren Robison, 9:00 am on

Hearing loss is more common in seniors with rheumatoid arthritis. However, most RA patients aren’t screened for hearing loss. If you’re experiencing symptoms of hearing loss or are seeking preventative measure, here’s what you can do to preserve your hearing suggested by New Hampshire Home Care Assistance.

1. See your primary healthcare provider.

Inform your doctor of all the medications you take. Be sure to mention any symptoms of ringing, roaring, or dizziness, as these can indicate inner ear disease. Your physician may perform a baseline hearing test called an audiogram. He or she may consider a change in medication or refer you to a hearing specialist.

2. Make an appointment with an audiologist.

Your primary care physician may refer you to an audiologist where your hearing ability will be evaluated. If a hearing aid is indicated, you’ll be fitted with an appropriate device, which you can use on a trial basis, typically 30 days. If you decide to buy the appliance, check with your insurance carrier to see whether you have hearing aid coverage.

3. Let others know.

The Arthritis Association recommends that you openly inform people of hearing difficulty. This action will summon their understanding and assistance with communicating.

4. Speak loudly and sit in the middle.

If you speak loudly yourself, others will tend to follow suit. When joining a seated gathering, choose a chair in the middle of the group, so you can best hear everyone speak.

5. Avoid loud noises and bad habits.

If you can’t sidestep proximity to blaring sound, wear earplugs or headphones to protect your ears. When listening to music through earbuds, keep the volume low. It’s also important to ditch bad habits, like smoking and excessive drinking, which can intensify hearing loss. Even proximity to cigarette smoke is harmful to cochlear function. 

6. Eat foods known to boost hearing.

There are certain nutrients our bodies need for optimal hearing. Potassium regulates the fluid level within the cochlea of the inner ear and can be found in yogurt, low-fat milk, apricots, bananas, raisins, potatoes, and spinach. Magnesium protects the ear’s nerve cells from the damaging effects of loud sounds and is abundant in artichokes, bananas, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, and spinach. Zinc zaps tinnitus and shields the ear from infection. The best sources of zinc are almonds, peanuts, cashews, beans, lentils, and split peas. Lastly, folate, also known as vitamin B9, helps promote circulation to the nerve cells of the inner ear and is found in asparagus, broccoli, spinach, and fortified breakfast cereal.

For more information on promoting senior wellness, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Although we are known for our trusted New Hampshire dementia care, we offer flexible hourly and live-in care services for seniors who need additional support to remain independent and comfortable at home. Call (603) 471-3004 today and schedule a free in-home consultation.