How to Care for Your Ears
A lot of us know the tenants to good overall health: a moderate diet filled with fruits, vegetables and lean meat, daily exercise, lots of water and good sleep. We even know how to take care of certain parts of the body: eat Omega-3 fatty acids for brain health, engage in yoga for mental and physical health and read or engage in critical-thinking activities to keep your mind sharp.
But what about your ears?
Hearing loss a widespread issue
Most people don’t think about ear health and in fact, may take it for granted. After all, approximately 15 percent of Americans between the ages of 20-69 have hearing loss that may have been caused to exposure to loud noises, according to the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The NIDCD also reports that as many as 16 percent of teens report some hearing loss likely caused from loud noises, such as listening to music too loud while wearing earbuds.
Besides reducing exposure to loud noises, there are many important tenants to maintaining overall ear health.
Cleaning your ears
One easy action to include in your daily cleaning routine to keep ears healthy is cleaning your ears, as well. Be sure to avoid inserting anything into the ear canal, such as a cotton swab. Doing so can create earwax impaction, making hearing loss worse. Instead, take a warm, moist cloth and wipe the ears gently. If earwax buildup is significant, consider purchasing over-the-counter eardrops to help remove the excess earwax.
If, when cleaning your ears, you notice an itching sensation, pain (especially pain that gets worse when tugging on the earlobe) or a plugged up/full sensation, you may be experiencing some sort of ear infection. Make sure to contact your family practitioner right away if you experience any of those symptoms. Untreated ear infections can also lead to hearing loss.
Protecting your ears
When you’re not cleaning your ears, it is important to maintain good ear health by protecting the ears from extremely loud noises, especially for long durations of time. If attending a concert or other loud arena event, bring earplugs with you to help reduce the exposure to the loud noises. It is also important to wear earplugs when engaging in chores, such as mowing the lawn or using a snow blower, as both of these appliances expose individuals to excess noise.
Speaking of snow — make sure to cover those ears up during cold spells. Exposure to extreme cold can increase your likelihood of catching colds, including ear infections.
When to see a hearing professional
While a magical pill isn’t available to help you maintain great ear health, these few steps will help reduce the impact of the environment, both inside and outside of your ears, bringing you the best ear health possible. If you still experience problems with your ears or hearing ability after following the above tips, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with a hearing care provider in your area!