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Although hearing loss can be hereditary and a natural result of aging, there are proactive steps you can take to keep your hearing sharp and healthy. Read below for five activities that can improve your hearing. Some of them may surprise you!

1. Puzzles

Your ears receive sounds, but your brain processes all the wonderful, (and maybe not so wonderful,) sounds that you hear. So, keeping your brain healthy can help to keep your hearing healthy too. Puzzles like Sudoku, crosswords, and word searches help to maintain healthy brain tissue and the neural connections necessary for processing sensory information.

2. Meditation

Stress and anxiety can also negatively impact your brain, which may negatively impact your hearing. Find a quiet spot, close your eyes and focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Doing this for as little as five minutes a day may help improve your brain’s ability to process sounds.

3. Daily Physical Exercise

Daily physical exercise can increase blood circulation in your ears and brain, which helps to improve nerve functions and remove wastes and toxins from your body. Note: If you are exercising while listening to music through headphones, be sure not to turn the music up too loud as this can damage your hearing overtime. Yoga is a recommended exercise to improve your hearing; it combines the relaxation of meditation with the health benefits of a good workout!

4. Sound Focus Exercise

One of the best ways to maintain your hearing health is to practice hearing! Find two sound sources of your choosing, such as a radio or a phone, and place each one in a different part of a room. Turn up the volume on both sound sources to create a noisy, (but still hearing-safe,) environment. Have someone walk around the room reading a piece of text. Close your eyes and try to repeat the text back to the person sentence by sentence.

5. Sound Location

This exercise can help improve how fast you locate the source of different sounds, which is essential when communicating with others in noisy environments. Use an object that makes a repetitive or consistent noise and have someone hide it somewhere in a noisy environment. Follow the sound as best as you can to locate the object.

These exercises are simple and fun ways to sharpen your hearing. However, if you suspect that you are suffering from hearing loss, be sure to speak to your doctor.

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