Dos and don’ts when caring for your ear health.
Your ears are complex organs. They work to detect, transmit, and transduce sound to your brain, while also helping you maintain a sense of balance. When you hear a noise, sound waves travel on a wondrous journey through your outer, middle, and inner parts of your ears, each step playing a critical role. When damage occurs to any part of the ear, you may experience hearing loss. While not all hearing loss can be prevented, you can take steps to protect your ears – and your hearing! – with these dos and don’ts:
Do use earplugs
If you will be in a place with loud sounds, like a construction site or music concert, use earplugs or earmuffs to help muffle loud noises.
Do turn down the volume
Do you enjoy listening to music or watching television? Be sure the volume is at a safe level. Exposure to dangerously loud sounds with or without headphones can put you at risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Do keep your ears dry
Too much moisture can invite bacteria into your ear canal, causing swimmer’s ear or other ear infections that can affect your hearing. After you bathe or swim, gently towel-dry your ears. If you can feel water inside your ear, tilt your head to the side and gently tug on the earlobe to let the water out.
You may be surprised to learn that a healthy heart can help you maintain your hearing health. In fact, cardiovascular exercise is shown to increase blood flow to your head, which can keep your ears functioning optimally.
Do get regular hearing screenings
While you can get a hearing test at any age, experts recommend that you schedule a screening with an audiologist every ten years until age 50, then every three years after. Learn more about different types of hearing tests here.
Don’t use cotton swabs to clean your ears
Inserting cotton swabs or any other foreign objects into your ears can damage your ear canal or eardrum and can lead to hearing loss. Instead, use a washcloth with soap and water to clean the outer ear. Contrary to popular belief, the ear canal does not need cleaning. If you have bothersome ear wax build-up, your doctor can safely remove it for you.
Smokers are 70 percent more likely to suffer from hearing loss than non-smokers. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about patches, pills, and other stop smoking aids that may help you protect your ears by kicking the habit.
Don’t spend too much time in noisy environments
If possible, try to limit the amount of time you spend at loud restaurants, bars, concerts, and sporting events. If you find yourself in a noisy environment, use earplugs to protect your hearing health.
Don’t let hearing loss keep you from connecting with loved ones
If you experience hearing loss that is preventing you from enjoying telephone conversations, reconnect with a CapTel captioned telephone that shows captions of everything the caller says.
Following these hearing protection tips can help you properly care for your ears at any age. For more hearing loss-related articles, check out our blog today.
Wondering if you have hearing loss? Check out these 5 common signs of hearing loss here.