Is 2017 your year to get in shape or improve your health? Regardless of what you hope to achieve this year, we’ve complied some ways you can exercise your ears without ever leaving the comfort of your recliner. There is no need to lift heavy weights or even break a sweat. A daily ear workout is important just the same.

Why exercise your ears?

Your ears and the part of your brain responsible for hearing can become lazy without regular stimulation. The condition is known as auditory deprivation. It occurs when hearing loss keeps you from hearing a full range of sounds.

As you may already know, during the time between the onset of your hearing loss and the decision to finally get hearing aids your ears became accustomed to a smaller range of sounds. As a result, the part of your brain responsible for translating those sounds became weaker from the lack of use.

How to exercise your ears?

When you finally got hearing aids you had to retrain your brain to hear those sounds. (It took some time and dedication!) Southwestern Hearing Centers stresses the importance of aural rehabilitation (exercising your ears.) We have found that patients have more success with their hearing aids. You can find free games on the website Happy Neuron and the app CLIX.

Even if you’ve had your hearing aids for some time, it is a good idea to continue exercising your ears. Keeping your brain and your ears fit can have tremendous health benefits. Studies have shown, these types of aural rehabilitation games can improve listening ability in noise, which can reduce the amount of effort needed for effective communication.  There have also been several studies that show adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering because the brain has to devote too much energy to processing sound. When you exercise your ears you keep that part of your brain in shape and avoid putting extra stress on it.

If games don’t interest you much, audio books are another wonderful and low-key way to keep your ears and your brain working together. Listening intently to a book on tape would be considered a low-level exercise. Listening and following along in a hard copy of the book will increase the challenge.

Another positive impact that can come about when you exercise your ears frequently is the ability to notice areas where you struggle to hear. You can bring these to the attention of your hearing specialist. They will tell you if adjustments can be made to your hearing aids to further improve your hearing.

Try to exercise your ears today! It is an easy and fun way to keep your hearing health in check.