Even if you are young and your hearing is currently fine, there are lots of things that are worth doing to protect your hearing and keep your ears in good health. Most of us don’t think too much about our ear health until it starts to affect us, whether that’s in the form of ear infections or starting to lose our hearing. The good news is that no matter what stage of life you are at, or how healthy your ears already are, it’s never too late to learn more about the various things that you can do to keep your ears in better health and reduce your risk of serious damage and problems in the future.
Limit Your Exposure to Loud Noise
The safe noise limit is 85 decibels, but there are lots of things that might end up putting us over this limit, including machinery, music, and even loud kitchen appliances like your blender. In Europe, MP3 players and other music players will have a default limit of this safe noise limit, but if you are listening to music through headphones and others around you can hear what you are listening to, then it’s too loud. Over time, long-term exposure to high noise levels can end up causing permanent damage to your hearing. If you suspect that you have damaged your hearing over time listening to music too loud, then you may want to seek advice from a hearing aid specialist.
Avoid Using Earbuds
While they might seem like a handy tool for keeping your ears clean, the truth is that ear canal infections tend to be more common in people who use earbuds or even use their fingers to clean their ears. This is because they can cause damage to the delicate skin of the ears, which in turn increases the risk of infection. Along with avoiding putting anything inside your ears to clean them, it’s also a wise idea to dry your ears thoroughly if you have been swimming, or after taking a bath or shower.
Tinnitus is usually a noise in the ears such as a ringing or buzzing, and it can be a low, medium, or high-pitched sound. It is different in everybody and may be present some or all of the time. There are several potential reasons for this problem including long-term exposure to loud noises and more. Most of the time, tinnitus occurs as a result of damage to the inner ear and may appear louder when under stress or in a quiet environment. While there is no absolute cure for it, there are several ways to manage this condition, including cognitive behavioural management.
Don’t Fly With a Cold
If you have a cold, then it might be a good idea to postpone your flight – especially if you are prone to getting ‘aeroplane ear’, which causes pain in the ears during take-off and landing. When this happens, it’s due to the unequal ear pressure inside your ear in comparison with the atmosphere outside, due to a blockage in the Eustachian tube. It can be uncomfortable, or even painful to deal with. If you have a cold when you fly, you may be at a higher risk of a rupture or perforation of the eardrum, which can be painful to deal with and leave the middle ear at more risk of infection.
Dissolve Impacted Wax
Wax build-up is a common problem with ears and can be the main reason behind mild hearing loss. When there is too much wax build-up in the ears, this can lead to a condition known as conductive deafness, which is caused by sounds not be able to freely pass through the ear canal as a result of the blockage. There are, thankfully, several things that you can do including having your ears syringed. Many experts recommend using eardrops made from sodium bicarbonate, or even olive oil, to soften the wax before syringing.
Understand Hearing Loss Can Affect Anybody
It’s a common misconception that hearing loss is a problem that only tends to affect older people. But the truth is that anybody at any age can suffer from hearing loss. There are many different potential causes of losing your hearing, including conditions like congenital hearing loss, glue ear, ear infections, and otosclerosis. Otosclerosis is a result of new bone growths around one of the small bones located in the middle ear and can limit its movement, which interferes with sound transmission. This condition is often genetic and can be treated with either surgery or the use of hearing aids.
Investigate Any Hearing Loss
Any hearing loss that you experience is worth investigating. This is especially true if you are dealing with one-sided hearing loss, when you may be able to hear well out of one ear, but not hear much or even anything out of the other. If no obvious cause of one-sided hearing loss is found, it might be a result of a more serious condition including benign tumours that are growing on the nerve bundle leading into the brain. In rarer cases, it might be a result of a cancerous growth that is developing in the post-nasal space, leading to a build-up of fluid in the ear and causing conditions such as glue ear.
This should always be investigated as early as possible; don’t put off getting this condition checked out as in the case of serious conditions like cancer, the earlier the diagnosis and treatment the better the chance of a positive outcome.
Our ears are often a part of our body that we take for granted. But the truth is that hearing problems and hearing loss can happen to anybody with lots of potential causes. No matter your age, or how well you can hear right now, it’s always a good idea to understand what you can do to protect your hearing and improve your ear health. From the volume of your music to how you clean your ears, there are lots of things you can do to keep your ears healthier.
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