From cleaning to sun protection, discover these practical ear care tips.
Your ears do a lot for you, from helping to transmit sound and maintain your balance to cleaning themselves and growing along with you. They contain the smallest bones in your body and yet are responsible for so much. To help keep them healthy, use these tips to learn how to take care of your ears:
- Don’t insert anything into your ears
- Clean your ears safely
- See your audiologist regularly
- Apply sunscreen to your ears when outdoors
- Wear hearing protection in noisy environments
- Take precautions during air travel
- Keep your hearing aids dry and clean
Read more about these ear care tips below.
Don’t insert anything into your ears
It’s critical to remember never to insert foreign objects smaller than your elbow into your ears, especially cotton swabs for cleaning. Small objects like these can injure your ear canal, cause infections, or even puncture your eardrum. Also, cotton swabs can push the earwax deeper into your ear canal. If you want to clean your ears, follow our next ear care tip.
Clean your ears safely
To clean your ears safely, start by washing your outer ear carefully with a warm washcloth. Your ears usually don’t need to be cleaned internally because they have a built-in self-cleaning mechanism. However, if you have earwax buildup or your ears feel clogged or painful, it’s best to visit your doctor or audiologist so they can use a safe method to remove the blockage for you.
See your audiologist regularly
Routinely visiting an ear care professional like an audiologist is the best way to make sure everything’s in tip-top condition. They can help test for hearing loss and provide personalized recommendations for keeping your ears healthy. In some cases, you don’t always have to see a specialist – some doctors can do a hearing test during your annual physical. If you have signs of hearing loss, tinnitus, or clogged ears, it’s best to make an appointment with an audiologist who is specially trained in ear health.
Find out what you need to know about audiologists here.
Apply sunscreen to your ears when outdoors
Taking care of your ears also includes protecting the skin around them. The ears are often forgotten when it comes to sunscreen application, but just like the rest of your body, they can burn too. In fact, they’re a common location for skin cancer spots. When you apply sunscreen to other body parts before going outdoors, take the extra few seconds to cover your ears. If sunscreen isn’t an option, consider using a hat that will cover your ears when you’re outdoors.
Wear hearing protection in noisy environments
Noise-induced hearing loss can result from exposure to very loud sounds. Familiarizing yourself with how loud is too loud can help you prepare for those situations. Start by using our handy decibel guide to learn about the volume levels of familiar noises. If you’re going to be in a setting that’s in the danger zone, bring ear protection like earplugs, noise-cancelling headphones, or ear muffs – or better yet, avoid these noises all together.
Brush up on these and other gadgets that can help protect your hearing.
Take precautions during air travel
There are a few things you can do to prevent “airplane ear,” the sensation of fullness, stuffiness, muffled, or discomfort in your ears when making rapid altitude changes. Take care of your ears on an airplane by yawning, swallowing, and/or chewing gum during takeoff and landing to help alleviate any symptoms. You can also buy specially filtered earplugs, which help to equalize ear pressure. Lastly, consider using a decongestant if you have a cold or feel stuffy.
Keep your hearing aids dry and clean
If you wear hearing aids, it’s important to take care of them too—they go into your ears, after all! Store them in a closed container when they’re not in use, keep them away from moisture, and follow our other hearing aid care tips for best results.
Now that you know how to take care of your ears, keep reading more about hearing loss and ear care tips on our blog.