Taking Care of Your Ears in 6 Easy Steps
One of the most frequent questions we hear at Sophisticated Hearing is “What Can I Do to Preserve My Hearing?” This is a very important question to address, whether you have normal hearing, or are beginning to experience hearing loss. In this post, we’ll cover how to take care of your ears in 6 simple steps
- Minimize Exposure to Loud Sounds
Avoiding noisy activities is the best approach to protect your hearing from loud sounds. However, you should also wear hearing protection if you can’t avoid loud sounds. Hearing protection devices reduce the volume of sound that reaches your ears. If you have read any of Dr. Olson’s articles before, you know one of the most important things a person can do is to wear hearing protection when in the presence of loud sounds. This is especially important since fireworks are very popular in July. Additionally, it is important to protect your hearing on an everyday basis, whether you are listening to music, using power-tools or other types of motorized equipment.
The most popular types of hearing protection devices are earplugs, earmuffs, and custom devices made to fit your ear. For instance, insert-type earplugs provide an air-tight seal in your ear canal. They are typically affordable, effective, and can be worn easily.
- Clean Your Ears
You have probably heard the saying “do not put anything smaller than your elbow in your ears”. This is why you should be careful when cleaning your ears
Q-tips can be dangerous for two reasons. Firstly, you are likely to push earwax deeper in your canal with a Q-tip. Secondly, if your hand accidently slips or gets pushed the Q-tip could puncture your eardrum resulting in hearing loss. Q-tips are meant for the outer crevices of the ear. Ear wax may obstruct the ear canal and reduce hearing if it is pushed further into the ear. Water may get trapped under the wax, which is both uncomfortable and impairs your hearing.
Instead, you should get your ears professionally cleaned by a hearing healthcare professional if you are experiencing excessive ear wax. Following the appointment, you may carry out the following steps:
- Add baby oil, mineral oil, or hydrogen peroxide to the ear canal using an eyedropper to soften wax twice daily
- Use a rubber-bulb syringe or earwax removal kit to add body-temperature water into the ear after a day or two to irrigate it
- To drain the water, tilt your head to the side.
- Review Your Medications
Some medications can be ototoxic or damaging to the ear. A side effect of some medications is tinnitus or ringing in your ears. It is important to review your medications with your physician or pharmacist if you have any concerns about your hearing and the effects your medication may have on you.
- Exercise and Eat a Balanced Diet
The cochlea, or hearing portion of the ear, is very sensitive to its oxygen and blood supply. Anything you can do to improve your cardiovascular system is likely to benefit your hearing as well. Omega-3 fatty acids are able to assist in delaying or preventing age-related hearing loss, so adding foods like salmon, spinach, walnuts, or chia seeds into your diet can be beneficial.
- Keep Your Ears Dry
This is especially important in the summer months, if you swim. Gently towel dry your ears and lean your head to one side to push any water out of your ear canal. Swimmer’s ear is a condition that causes the outer ear to become red, flaky, and sensitive to touch as a result of being in the water for too long This results in a moist environment that may cause bacteria to grow. Hence, to prevent ear infections, it’s important to keep your ears dry
- Schedule an Annual Hearing Test
If you have not done so already, schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Even if you do not have any concerns about your hearing it is always good to have a baseline test. If you are already experiencing hearing loss, it is even more important to have your hearing tested about once a year for monitoring purposes.
Follow these tips diligently, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving better ear health!