Caring for Your Ears in 6 Simple Steps
At Sophisticated Hearing, we often receive the question, “What can I do to preserve my hearing?” This is an important inquiry to address, whether you currently have normal hearing or are beginning to experience hearing loss. In this post, we will cover six easy steps to take care of your ears.
Minimize Exposure to Loud Sounds
The best approach to protect your hearing from loud sounds is to avoid noisy activities whenever possible. However, if you cannot avoid loud sounds, it is crucial to wear hearing protection. Hearing protection devices help reduce the volume of sound reaching your ears. Dr. Olson emphasizes the importance of wearing hearing protection, especially during popular July fireworks celebrations. Additionally, it is essential to protect your hearing in everyday situations such as listening to music or using power tools or other motorized equipment.
The most popular types of hearing protection devices are earplugs, earmuffs, and custom-made devices tailored to fit your ear. For example, insert-type ear plugs provide an airtight seal in your ear canal. They are affordable, effective, and easy to wear.
Practice Safe Ear Cleaning
As the saying goes, “Do not put anything smaller than your elbow in your ears.” Therefore, caution is necessary when cleaning your ears. Q-tips can be dangerous for two reasons. Firstly, they can push earwax deeper into the canal. Secondly, if your hand slips or the Q-tip is pushed, it may puncture your eardrum and result in hearing loss. Q-tips should only be used for the outer crevices of the ear.
If you are experiencing excessive earwax, it is advisable to seek professional ear cleaning from a hearing healthcare professional. After the appointment, you can follow these steps:
- Twice daily, add baby oil, mineral oil, or hydrogen peroxide to the ear canal using an eyedropper to soften the wax.
- After a day or two, use a rubber-bulb syringe or an earwax removal kit to irrigate the ear with body-temperature water.
- Tilt your head to the side to drain the water.
Evaluate Your Medications
Certain medications can be ototoxic, meaning they can damage the inner ear. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, can be a side effect of some medications. If you have concerns about the impact of your medications on your hearing, it is important to discuss them with your physician or pharmacist.
Maintain an Active Lifestyle and Balanced Diet
The cochlea, the hearing portion of the ear, is highly sensitive to oxygen and blood supply. Improving your cardiovascular system can also benefit your hearing. Including foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, spinach, walnuts, or chia seeds, in your diet can help delay or prevent age-related hearing loss.
Keep Your Ears Dry
In the summer months, especially if you swim, it is important to keep your ears dry. After swimming, gently towel dry your ears and tilt your head to one side to allow any water to drain out of the ear canal. Prolonged exposure to water can lead to swimmer’s ear, a condition that causes redness, flakiness, and sensitivity in the outer ear. This moist environment can promote bacterial growth, making it crucial to keep your ears dry to prevent ear infections.
Schedule an Annual Hearing Test
If you haven’t done so already, make an appointment for an annual hearing test. Even if you don’t have any concerns about your hearing, having a baseline test is always beneficial. If you are already experiencing hearing loss, regular hearing tests, around once a year, are particularly important for monitoring purposes.
By following these tips diligently, you will be well on your way to achieving better ear health and preserving your hearing for the long term.
Remember, taking care of your ears is essential, whether you have normal hearing or are dealing with hearing loss. By implementing these six simple steps into your routine, you can make a significant impact on your ear health and overall well-being.