6 Home Organizing Tips for ADHD Relief

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If you or a loved one lives with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) there are ways to ease the symptoms while in your home. Dr. Mark Haffey, EdD, director of the Haffey Center for Attention and Memory in Amherst MA, offered up good advice for making your house a place of support for those with ADHD.

“There are different systems for different people, but there are some general ideas that are helpful for most everybody,” Haffey said. Haffey said that the “simpler the environment the better.”

“People with ADHD often build in too many distractions such as TVs and music systems. The quieter the better for most people with ADHD,” he said. Haffey added that some people with ADHD need to have low background noise while working or doing homework, others need total silence to perform those types of activities. “If there is background noise, it can’t be a favorite show or song,” said Haffey.

The launching pad

Haffey said that one of the most universal techniques for people with ADHD is to have a “launching pad” in the front hallway or by the front door. “People with ADHD frequently lose their keys, wallets, cell phones, day planners, etc. Having a box or basket by the front door puts everything where they need it to be when they launch their day – and that’s where everything is returned when they come home,” said Haffey.

Bill paying kit

One area is designated as the “bill paying area” and is set up with a basket for bills, envelopes, pens, stamps, and other typical items needed for bill paying. Haffey said that people with ADHD often get into trouble with bills because there is frequently some part of the bill paying process that is misplaced or can’t be found.

The three-basket system

Whether used for mail or for other organizational needs, Haffey recommends using three baskets, which can even be color-coded. “You have one basket for things that have to be taken care of immediately, one for things that can wait, and one for things that need to be thrown out,” Haffey said. He added that “people (with ADHD) tend to get stuck trying to figure out what they need to attend to and what they don’t.”

Technology aids

Haffey said that the advent of smart phones has been a boon for people with ADHD. Aside from scheduling appointments, alarms can be set up throughout the day to remind people of things they need to do. For example, Haffey said he knew of someone who found that if they “took a shower at 6 a.m. every day, the rest of their day went better.”

Unfortunately, at this time, Haffey said, there is no type of insurance coverage for technology aides for people with ADHD. However, he added that there are medical groups in the US that are working on creating more sensible solutions for people with ADHD that save money in the long run.

The human element

When trying to initially arrange a home to better support someone with ADHD, Haffey said “it’s best to hire a professional organizer.” Otherwise, he said it’s best to have someone, for example a parent, to initiate organizing the home.

If you are trying to help someone with ADHD organize themselves, say in their bedroom, Haffey said that it is always good to have what he calls a body double. “The friend or family member can help, or just spend time with the person. Having someone there is often calming enough to reduce some of the stress of organizing,” said Haffey.

How does color affect people with ADHD?

Haffey said that one of the best colors to paint the house in for someone who has ADHD is blue. “Blue is soothing to people. Science has shown that blue has a very calming affect on the brain waves. People with ADHD need an environment that creates a calmer mood as they tend to be distracted and frazzled,” said Haffey.

So in general, the keys to a helpful living environment for someone with ADHD are organization, personal support, and keeping the house as simple and quiet as possible.

Cris Carl writes about Boston-area flooring and housing issues. Read more like this on Networx.



Are Basil Seeds a New Superfood?

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Basil seeds have been used traditionally in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, and now they’re starting to get noticed in the West. Although research is still emerging to support the various health claims surrounding basil seeds, they definitely look like a healthy seed worth adding to your diet.

Which basil seeds?

The basil seeds that are used for eating are the seeds from the sweet basil plant, Ocimum basilicum. They are also called Thai basil seeds, falooda, sabja, subza, selasih or tukmaria.

This is different from the holy basil plant, Ocimum tenuiflorum, which is also called tulsi. The leaves and oil of holy basil are used in Ayurvedic medicine for many purposes, but typically not the seeds.

Sweet basil seeds are a similar size as chia seeds. The difference is basil seeds are completely black and tear-shaped, whereas chia seeds are typically mottled shades of grey with brown and have a more rounded shape.

Like chia, basil seeds become gelatinous when soaked in water. They are used in drinks in many Asian countries for thickening as well as for health.

sweet basil seeds

Sweet Basil Seeds

Potential Health Benefits of Basil Seeds

Basil seeds are reported to have antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, antispasmodic and antifungal properties.

Very little scientific research has been done on basil seeds to date. This may be because there is not a large market for the seeds yet. But some preliminary research looks promising.

Blood Sugar Regulation

According to the Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, basil seeds may help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.

Digestion Help

When soaked, the fiber in the outer coat of basil seeds becomes mucus-like A few studies suggest that this fiber has a laxative effect. Basil seeds are also used to relieve stomach cramps, flatulence, constipation and indigestion.

Appetite Control

It’s suggested that the fiber in the soaked seeds has the effect of making you feel more full. This could help reduce your appetite and assist with weight loss.

Respiratory Aid

Traditionally, basil seeds are used to treat colds, flu, coughs and asthma.

Stress Relief

Consumption of basil seeds is said to have an uplifting effect on your mood and can help with mental fatigue, depression and migraine headaches.

Skin Treatments

Basil seeds can be crushed into oil as a skin treatment for wounds, cuts or skin infections.

Lowering Cholesterol Levels

A study in Thailand described how sweet basil seeds could be used to reduce cholesterol levels in patients.

Genitourinary Infections

Due to their reported antibacterial effects, basil seeds supposedly help with issues such as bladder infections and vaginal infections.

Nutritional Breakdown

A detailed nutritional study of basil seeds is currently not available. But like other seeds, basil seeds contain all the concentrated nutrients and building blocks needed to grow a new plant.

No toxicity or any harmful effects have ever been found for basil seeds. They’re recognized as safe to eat.

Their basic nutritional make-up compared to chia seeds is:

Basil Seeds

Chia Seeds









basil seed pudding

How to Prepare and Use Basil Seeds

If you have any favorite recipes that use chia seeds, you can easily replace the chia with basil seeds. They have very similar thickening properties. For instance, chia puddings are a popular dish that can be easily made with basil seeds instead.

Basil seeds actually soak up water faster than chia. Basil will soften within about 5 minutes, whereas chia can take up to an hour to soften. Both seeds will create a thick, gelatinous mixture.

You can use the soaked basil seeds right away if you’re in a hurry, but it’s recommended to soak basil seeds for at least a couple hours before using them. This will ensure their digestive enzymes are fully released.

You can use the soaked seeds with their jelly-like coat, or rinse and strain the seeds if you want to get rid of the coating.

These are a few different ways you can start eating basil seeds:

  • Add them to drinks, such as fruit juices, coconut milk or teas.
  • Blend them into smoothies.
  • Sprinkle on top of salads.
  • Mix into vegan cheeses or cream sauces.
  • Use them in desserts where you would use tapioca or other thickeners.
  • Combine with yogurt and fruit.

Avoid giving drinks or desserts with whole, soaked basil seeds to children or anyone with swallowing difficulties. They could possibly choke on the swollen seeds, especially if they’re clumped together.

Basil seeds may be carried in your local natural or Asian foods stores. If you can’t find them locally, they are available online. Desserts and frozen, canned or fresh drinks with basil seeds may also be available in some parts of the United States and other countries.

Another option is to collect the seeds from your own sweet basil plants if you grow them. Just let the plants flower and develop seeds. Once they mature, you can easily put the flowers in a paper bag, close and shake it, then remove the flower debris at the top of the bag. The heavier seeds should fall off and collect at the bottom of the bag.

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Are You Using Power Strips Safely?

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Power strips can be very handy, and they are completely safe—when you use them properly.

I have this clear memory of a person from the fire department visiting my elementary school when I was very small. They talked to us about all kinds of potential fire hazards, including power strips. The fireperson showed us a rat king of power strips, all with clearly fraying cables, all plugged into each other. They were sparking.

Chances are, you’re not plugging tons of frayed, sparking power strips into each other, but are you using the power strips in your home safely? Below are tips to help you avoid fire and shock hazards.

Power Strip Safety Tips

Most people know that frayed cables and strings of power strips are unsafe, but that’s the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using power strips safely.

Most people know that frayed cables and strings of power strips are unsafe, but that's the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using power strips safely.

1. Do not plug one power strip into another.

This is one of the most well-known power strip safety tips, but it still bears mentioning. Even two daisy chained power strips can be a fire hazard.

Plugging one power strip into another is called “daisy chaining”, and it makes it much more likely that you’ll overload one of the strips, starting a fire. If you need your power strip to reach further, it’s time to hit the store for a longer one.

2. Never use a power strip with a frayed cable.

You probably already knew this, as well, but it’s so important. If the casing around the cable on your power strip is damaged, take it to an electronics recycling facility. It’s done.

3. Never use it to plug in a space heater.

Not all power strips can handle the amount of electricity that a space heater needs to pull from the wall.

Before plugging any medium to large appliance into a power strip, make sure the strip is rated for those products. The energy absorption rating should be right on the power strip. Compare it to the rating printed on the device you’re planning to plug in to avoid a meltdown.

4. Plug in one appliance maximum.

This is another tip to avoid overloading a power strip. If you’ve got your television plugged into a power strip for example, you shouldn’t also plug your computer into the same power strip.

5. Never attach them to surfaces using tape, nails or staples.

Power strips aren’t meant to be long-term solutions. The International Association of Home Inspectors website calls this “an obviously dangerous condition.”

6. Always keep the cord uncovered.

Don’t run the cable for a power strip under rugs or even low furniture. The cord needs air to circulate around it to keep it cool. Covering it up can cause it to overheat, causing a fire.

7. Childproof your power strips.

If you have small children, power strips present a similar hazard to uncovered outlet, though they may be even more enticing to little fingers. Keep plugged-in power strips out of reach until your kids are old enough to understand what they are. You can also use childproofing covers on unused outlets or buy a special childproofing cover to prevent an accident.

Related at Care2

Most people know that frayed cables and strings of power strips are unsafe, but that's the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using power strips safely.

Images via Thinkstock.


23 Research-Backed Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

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Vinegar has so many uses and medicinal properties, it’s arguably one of the most underrated natural substances. There are countless resources about all the amazing benefits that Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has for multiple physical ailments, cleaning and DIY purposes. ACV is a cheap and effective multi-purpose cleaner, you can add it to your water, tea and salad dressings for a refreshing zing. Read below to capitalize on its multiple health benefits.

Why All The Fuss Over Apple Cider Vinegar?

The word vinegar translates to vin aigre, which is french for “sour wine.” The medicinal uses of vinegar date way back to when it was discovered in 5000 BC by a courtier in Babylonia. Doctors during the 18th century used it as a multi purpose treatment for ailments like edema, stomach ache and even for managing diabetes (1). Columbus had barrels of apple cider vinegar on his ships to prevent scurvy. Apple cider vinegar was used during the civil war to disinfect wounds and Japanese Samurais drank it for strength and power. Hippocrates used vinegar to treat seventeen different conditions (2) ranging from ulcers to fractures. Apple Cider Vinegar is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Its various enzymes help with digestion and 1 tbs equals just 3 calories.

1. Cleaning

ACV combined with 2 parts water makes an effective natural disinfectant solution for all surfaces (3). It’s amazingly affordable compared to commercial natural cleaning products and the smell is really pleasant. You can add a few drops of thieves’ oil and have a great antibacterial spray for countertops, bathroom, kitchen and carpet deodorizer.

2. Hair rinse

There’s a new hair craze on the rise and it relies on the simple method of using baking soda as a shampoo and ACV as a conditioning hair rinse. Instead of spending loads on junk free shampoos and conditioners, “no poo“ (short for shampoo, not the other stuff), this haircare  method works really well and makes your hair super soft. Thanks to the pH balancing effects that ACV has, anecdotal reports claim it can add shine, softness and break down buildup from other hair products.

3. Dandruff and Thinning Hair 

The high acidity and powerful enzymes in ACV kill the bacteria responsible for dandruff, hair loss and bottle bacilli. ACV stimulates your hair’s natural oils, helping them secrete more effectively for a healthy and moisturized scalp. Saturate the scalp with ACV and let it sit for a few hours if you can, use the same treatment for thinning hair and itchy scalp (4).

dog bathimage by Ginny, via Flickr

4. Pets

ACV is a great remedy for repelling fleas from your dog’s skin. It’s totally safe to use so you don’t have to worry about your pet getting sick if he or she starts licking the wet fur afterwards. It works on pets the same way that it works on humans, reestablishing the proper acid mantle of the skin to repel microbes and other pests. You can also add Apple Cider Vinegar to your pet’s food to keep a healthy pH balance in their gut and to prevent allergies, deter parasites, ringworm, ticks, fungus and other microbes from invading. A 50 lb. dog should stick to about 2 tsp per day with food. If you want to use ACV externally you could mix it 50:50 with water and put it in a spray bottle, saturating your dog’s coat once daily (5).

5. Skin Toner

Most skin care products are on the alkaline side of the pH scale. Some people try everything for their skin problems, but nothing seems to work. Here’s the issue: most products are harming the acid mantle, a protective layer on our skin. ACV is great because its acidity is closer to the natural pH of our skin, which keeps the acid mantle intact to do its job, protecting against germs and foreign bacteria that can cause skin problems. If you want to try ACV as a toner, just combine one part ACV with two to three parts water, you’ll want to add more water for very sensitive skin. Apply this concoction to your face after cleansing and allow it to absorb into your skin.

6. Detoxifying

In a world filled with so many toxins, we should all be taking precautionary measures by incorporating protective foods into our diets. The unique acids in ACV bind to toxins and allow us to release them more effectively. You can also utilize the medicine of ACV by adding a cup to a hot bath with some epsom salts, to kickstart your lymphatic system into releasing toxins (6).

7. Allergies and Congestion

Not only does ACV help break up mucous, it also has a natural anti-histamine effect. Whether your suffering from seasonal allergies, environmental or pet related, ACV can lessen the sneezy, wheezy, uncomfortable symptoms (7).

8. Candida

If you aren’t familiar with candida overgrowth, consider yourself lucky. Candida is a parasitic bacteria, causing yeast overgrowth leading to low energy, poor digestion, yeast infections, canker sores and other uncomfortable symptoms. Candida overgrowth occurs often when a person has a poor diet, high in refined sugar and carbohydrates and it can take over when your gut flora are compromised by antibiotic use or birth control. ACV is an effective tool in the kit of someone trying to rid themselves of draining candida.  (You can also use lemon water as a possible solution when treating Candida. Lemon water works by helping promote better digestion and an acid/alkaline balance, allowing healthy bacteria to once again thrive in the gut (8).)

Vinegar has also been used for centuries as a cure for foot fungus and is great for killing molds. Since yeast is a fungus, it makes sense that ACV would help in keep the parasite at bay, even though to date there hasn’t been any specific analysis of ACV directly as a candida-killer.

acid reflux
9. Reduces Heart Burn and Acid Reflux

One of the most common health complaints people have is heart burn. It’s a symptom of the SAD (Standard American Diet) lifestyle because acid reflux only occurs when we’re depleted in hydrochloric acid (HcL). HcL production is low in people who have sub optimal gut flora, meaning the aren’t eating enough cultured/fermented foods and have likely taken some sort of antibiotic in the past which has killed off the natural beneficial bacteria. Stomach acid is the first line of defense against microbes, but when the stomach pH isn’t low enough, pathogens may grow around the esophageal sphincter and paralyze the muscle, allowing food to relax back up the esophagus (9). Taking a Tbs of raw ACV with each meal ensures that the stomach acid will be acidic enough to do it’s job in making sure to kill off harmful microbes and start the process of digestion (10).

10. Effective in Treating High Cholesterol  

There has yet to be a study done on effects of ACV on humans with high cholesterol but a study in 2006 found rats fed ACV for 19 days had drastic reduction in total cholesterol and triglyceride levels (11). There’s also an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid present in ACV which has been found to LDL cholesterol particles from becoming oxidized.

11. Antiglycemic Effect

Plenty of human studies have been done on the effect vinegar has on insulin response and blood glucose levels after a meal (13).  I think it’s important that everyone understands what insulin is and does in our bodies.

Insulin plays a critical role in the way our bodies use food.  The primary function is decreasing the concentration of glucose (sugar) in your blood stream. Every time you eat, your body begins to break down the food into glucose, which goes into your blood stream.

Your pancreas reacts to the surge in glucose by releasing insulin which cleans the the sugar from your blood. A portion of the glucose runs through the liver, where it’s converted to glycogen to be used by your muscles. Then insulin converts any left over glucose into fatty acids stored in the form of fat cells as an energy source later. Our bodies crave sugar, and so much of what we buy in the grocery store has added sugar as a result. Many are developing a resistance to insulin which means that your body has has so much insulin secreted that it starts to ignore it and the sugar stays in the blood stream, which is not a good thing.

This can develop into diabetes and permanent health damages. Vinegar also suppresses the appetite and increases a feeling of satiety. (14) ACV may also lower the glycemic response to starchy carbohydrates (15). With diabetes as prevalent as it is today it’s comforting to know that something as simple as vinegar may be an effective treatment.

12. Preventative

Cancer is devastating and debilitating. Almost all of us have loved ones who have been affected by this heinous disease. There’s so much research in the realm of cancer prevention, a healthy diet and lifestyle are of the utmost importance. The acetic acid present in ACV has been found in a number of cell and animal studies to have anti-tumor properties (16).  We are in to way claiming that apple cider vinegar is a cure for cancer or tumors, but ongoing research and testing is a step in the right direction. The amazing thing is that we can incorporate disease-preventing foods like this one easily into our daily regime, there are no harmful side effects, and no risk of overdose, so why not?

13. Improves Digestion

Apple cider vinegar in its raw form is an excellent digestive tonic. It’s rich in living enzymes that help to break food down to its bare components, making it far easier to assimilate. As I mentioned before, it’s an important source of acid that enables the first step of digestion to work effectively. Stirring up those digestive juices helps immensely with the rest of the digestive processes. The acetic acid present in ACV has also been shown to help with mineral absorption, enabling us to get the most out of the foods we eat (17).


14. Prevents Muscle Fatigue After Exercise

Muscle fatigue can often be a symptom of mineral and electrolyte depletion. To make sure the body has ample electrolyte stores, take a tbs of ACV with water before a workout. When our PH is naturally in balance, it creates an environment where elimination of excess lactic acid in the muscles easily occurs, this stasis also plays a crucial role in oxygenating our bodies during exercise

15. Bad Breath

Halitosis: it’s embarrassing and can be a sign of a deeper problem, but one remedy for bad breath is, you guessed it, ACV. A folk remedy that many people claim has merit is to gargle with 1/2 tbs raw ACV diluted in water for 30 seconds, twice per day (19). Some say it helps whiten teeth and remove stains.

16. Body Odor 

ACV helps control excessive body odour by regulating the pH of the skin, something most commercial deodorants and perfumes can’t claim (20). For foot odour as well as fungal problems, even just a 10 minute soak once a week can keep bad smells in check. To use ACV as a deodorant simply wipe each armpit with a soaked cotton ball daily.

17. Preserving Food

Vinegar as a preservative dates back to 5000 B.C. People soon recognized this magical substance could allow them to store food for longer periods. The same rules apply today. Saving some of the bounty when our favorite foods are in season is a great way to eat organic local food all year long. Instead of making pickles with white vinegar, try using ACV, it gives them a great flavor as well as the added health benefits (21).

18. Weight Loss  

A huge problem those of us trying to lose weight face is those ups and downs when blood sugars spike and drop too drastically. The blood sugar roller coaster causes us to crave “high energy” foods like refined carbohydrates, to give a short term boost but a long term plummet. ACV has been  shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, helping to curb cravings and kick extra calories out. ACV has become an overnight sensation in the weight loss industry, they even make it in pill form, though most of the experts say it’s better to just drink the real unpasteurized stuff. ACV can also help with weight loss by increasing satiety after a meal, always a good feeling. A study done on obese individuals who consumed 15mL or 30mL of vinegar per day for 12-weeks, showed a reduction in body fat mass and serum triglycerides (22).

19. Prevents Bladder stones and UTI 

If you’ve ever had kidney stones, or known someone who has, they are extremely painful, and totally preventable. Stones typically form when a person’s urine is very acidic and concentrated, crystals form out of uric acid, calcium oxalate and struvite and have to be passed through the urinary tract. ACV works by alkalizing the urine, decreasing the likelihood that this ailment would ever occur, and it’s been said that it can even break down the kidney stones (23). It makes sense since ACV is such a powerful substance when it comes to helping the body absorb minerals.

20. Balanced pH 

Dr. Theodore Baroody, in his book “Alkalize or Die,” claims ACV has an alkalizing effect on the blood and urine. Even though ACV is an acidic food, its structure changes to alkaline through the digestive processes. The idea of eating a diet high in alkaline foods is that disease thrives in an acidic environment (24). Foods like refined sugar, carbohydrates and meat create an acidic environment in our bodies. It’s interesting to note that the pH of a food in its pre-digested state is very different from the chemical processes it will undergo in our bodies. Thus foods like ACV and lemon water are surprisingly alkaline forming.

21. Potassium 

Said to be the mineral of youth, potassium is an essential mineral in maintaining the soft tissues of the body, keeping everything flexible and resilient (2526). Deficiencies in potassium can cause an array of health problems. Nobel Scientist Dr.Alexis Carrel “was able to keep the cells of an embryo chicken heart alive and healthy for 35 years by daily monitoring it’s complete nutrition, cleansing and elimination. A chicken’s average lifespan is 7 years! Apple Cider Vinegar was given to the chicken embryo daily for it’s full quota of potassium.” Pretty impressive, seeing as Dr.Carrel did this study in 1912, proving that proper nutrition and cleansing can adjust lifespan quite drastically.

22. Corns, Callouses and Warts

Dr. Scholl was a believer in keeping feet healthy by soaking them in warm water with 1/3 cup of ACV for 20 minutes and rubbing with a pumice stone. This treatment for chronic foot ailments helps to correct the pH of the feet and make it impossible for fungus and warts to imbed themselves within the skin (27). For warts, instead of rubbing with a pumice stone after a soak, simply saturate a cotton ball, apply it to the affected areas and cover overnight.

23. Poison Ivy and Poison Oak 

ACV can soothe the irritation caused by these poisonous plants. Combine 50:50 ACV AND water in a spray bottle and add a few ice cubes (28). This cooling spray helps to draw the toxins out of the skin and provide relief from the sting.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away and I think the same goes for a bit of apple cider vinegar a day. There’s no reason not to incorporate this healing food into your daily regimen. On a holistic level, this amazing whole food is good for every organ system.

image credit: Mark Mckeown, via Flickr

by Chantelle Zakariasen, from Roots and Sprouts


Ways to Combat Hearing Loss

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Do you find yourself regularly turning the volume up on your music or TV? Are you asking others to repeat themselves more often? If this sounds familiar, you may be facing some degree of hearing loss.

Rest assured, you’re not alone. Approximately 10 percent of people in the United States report having difficulty hearing. And it affects all ages. The majority of people with hearing loss (65 percent) are under 65 years old.

The good news is that hearing loss is largely preventable. Even if you’re experiencing some hearing loss already, there is a lot you can do to control further damage and keep your hearing at its best.

How Does Hearing Work?

Ear diagram

Many different structures inside your ear function cooperatively to give you the ability to hear. When a sound enters your outer ear canal, it first comes in contact with your tympanic membrane, or eardrum. The vibrations on your eardrum are transferred along three short bones in your middle ear to an organ called the cochlea in your inner ear.

Your cochlea is filled with a specialized fluid that converts the sound wave into an electrical impulse that gets sent along your nerves to your brain for processing. If anything gets disrupted along this finely tuned system, hearing loss can result.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Inner Ear Damage

This is the most common cause of hearing loss. Over time, aging and exposure to loud noise can damage the delicate structures in your ears. Higher pitched tones may become harder to hear, and it can be difficult to pick out words against a noisy background. This sort of damage is permanent.

Earwax Buildup

Excess earwax can physically block your ear canal and prevent sound from reaching your inner ear. You can easily remove earwax and restore this kind of hearing loss.

Ear Infections

The Eustachian tube allows fluid to drain out of your middle ear in order to maintain a proper internal pressure. When the tube becomes blocked for any reason, fluid can back up in your ear and become infected. This fluid buildup can also block some of your hearing. Depending on the severity, this type of hearing loss can be temporary or permanent.

Ruptured Eardrum

Many situations can cause one or both of your eardrums to rupture or tear, such as loud blasts of noise, sudden pressure changes, poking your eardrum with an object, and infection. Usually any hearing loss is temporary and will clear up after the tear has healed, which takes a few weeks.


About 200 drugs can cause ear damage, such as certain antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs. You can also experience temporary hearing loss if you take very high doses of some drugs, like aspirin and other pain relievers.


Diseases or illnesses that involve a high fever, such as meningitis, may damage the inner ear. Certain other conditions like brain tumors, Meniere’s disease, or multiple sclerosis can also affect hearing.

Ways to Combat Hearing Loss

Avoid Loud Noise

This may sound simple, but noise can assault you from a variety of sources. Pay attention to how you react to noise throughout the day. Do you cringe when you turn on a blender? Does traffic noise bother you? Trust your instincts. If a noise seems uncomfortably loud, it’s likely getting into the danger zone for your hearing.

Try to minimize your exposure to any sources of noise pollution, such as:

  • Appliances (e.g. washing machines, blenders, vacuum cleaners)
  • Personal care equipment (e.g. hair dryers, electric toothbrushes)
  • Exercise equipment
  • Yard maintenance equipment (e.g. lawn mowers, leaf blowers)
  • Headphones
  • Street traffic
  • Barking dogs
  • Low-flying airplanes

Related: 5 Everyday Noises That Can Ruin Your Hearing

Wear Hearing Protection

If you can’t avoid loud noise for a particular reason, always protect your ears. Earmuffs and earplugs are the most common types of hearing protection. They’re designed to bring noise down to acceptable levels, not cut out noise completely.

Earmuffs and earplugs come in many different styles and strengths. Visit your local pharmacy, hardware store or home care supply store to discuss what types they have available.

Plan Your Outings Carefully

Many recreational activities involve a lot of noise. Snowmobiles, motorcycles, concerts, night clubs and even movie theaters can all bombard you with potentially damaging levels of noise. If you’re planning an evening or a day out that you know will involve loud noise, make sure to bring some hearing protection.

It’s also helpful to keep your exposure to the noise as short as possible and take regular breaks away from the noise. Also try to keep your distance from the noise source. For example, getting the cheap seats at the back of a concert stadium can be a great thing for your ears.

Quit Smoking

Research shows that smokers are up to 70 percent more likely to develop hearing loss than non-smokers. Secondhand smoke is also dangerous. Non-smokers who live with smokers are still twice as likely to develop hearing loss compared to people who are not exposed to secondhand smoke.

If you’re a smoker, do yourself and your loved ones a favor. Find treatment and quit the habit for good.

Remove Earwax

Earwax is naturally self-cleaning. It’s only produced on the outside edge of the external ear canal and will usually fall out by itself. But, if you’re concerned you might have too much building up and it’s affecting your hearing, visit your doctor right away. They can check your ears and remove any earwax if needed.

Whatever you do, don’t use cotton swabs to clean your ears. Read why here.

Check Your Medications

This is another area to discuss with your doctor. Ask them if any of your current medications have hearing loss associated with them. If they do, perhaps you can look at alternatives.

Have Your Hearing Checked

Early detection of hearing loss can alert you to any potential problems and prevent further damage. If you have concerns about your hearing, ask your doctor for a hearing test. And if you work or live in an especially noisy environment, try to get your hearing checked annually.

Consider Hearing Assistance

Has your hearing loss started to impact your life? If you find yourself avoiding social contact or withdrawing from activities you enjoy because of your hearing loss, it might be a good time to investigate options for hearing assistance.

You’re not limited to old-fashioned hearing aids anymore. There is a wide variety of assistive devices and alternative communication options available. Check out the National Institutes of Health’s webpage on different types of hearing assistive devices for more details.

Related at Care2


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