Your ears are the gateway to your brain. They take in sound, process it, and send signals to the brain. The better your hearing is, the better you can hear, process, and understand what’s happening around you.
But there’s more to healthy ears than just hearing well. Your ears are part of your body’s overall health; they have an impact on your mental health, too. Hearing loss can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
That’s why it’s so important to take care of your ears regularly, so you don’t end up with serious problems later in life.
But how can you make sure that you are contributing to your healthy hearing? Let’s check the details with some useful ear-cleaning tips below.
Tips to Properly Care for Your Ears
The ear is a complex organ, and it requires a lot of care to keep it healthy. The following tips will help you prevent hearing loss, keep your ears functioning well, and save money on doctor’s visits down the road.
Protect Your Ears From Loud Sounds
Your ears can be damaged by loud sounds, whether you’re at a concert or working in a factory. If you’re exposed to loud sounds for long periods, that can lead to permanent hearing loss.
To protect your ears from loud sounds:
- Wear earplugs or headphones when around loud noises. Some jobs require workers to wear ear protection on the job site. If you work in a noisy environment, ask your employer about using ear protection.
- Avoid using headphones at high volumes for an extended duration. Hearing loss from noise exposure is usually gradual and occurs over many years, so it’s important to take steps now to prevent further damage.
- Limit the amount of time you spend around loud noise sources like concerts and sporting events until your hearing returns to normal levels after the event has ended.
Keep Your Ears Dry
The ears are particularly vulnerable to infection. They are open to the environment and constantly receive bacteria and viruses from the air. As a result, the ears are often the first place that people come down with colds.
The best way to take care of your ears is to keep them dry. This is especially important if you have a medical condition that causes excessive earwax production, such as impacted earwax, or if you use hearing aids.
Here are some tips for keeping your ears dry:
- Wear earplugs when swimming or bathing — especially if you have long hair or wear an earring in one ear.
- Dry your ears after swimming by wiping them with a towel and letting them air-dry before putting on a swimsuit or dressing gown.
- If you swim in chlorinated water, rinse your hair with fresh water from a shower or bathtub faucet before getting dressed.
Clean Your Ears Properly
Cleaning your ears properly will help keep them healthy and prevent ear infections. To clean your ears, use a soft washcloth, or baby wipe to gently wipe the outside of your ear canal. If you have earwax buildup, use a wet cloth or tissue to clean out the wax instead of cotton swabs or Q-tips.
Wash your hands before touching your ear, as well as after touching objects like phones and hair brushes that could be carrying bacteria.
Make sure to clean them regularly. Wipe the outside of your ears with a soft cloth to remove dirt and oils from the skin around them. Then gently wipe the inside of each ear with a wet cotton ball or tissue. Yet again, don’t use Q-tips because they can push wax further into the ear canal and damage sensitive skin inside the ear.
Get Regular Hearing and Ear Tests
Ear infections can be treated with antibiotics, but in some cases, the infection will return without treatment. If you’ve had recurrent ear infections and they don’t seem to be getting better with antibiotics, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible. You may need additional treatment—such as surgery or a device called a stapedectomy—to relieve pressure on your middle ear and prevent damage to the inner ear.
If you experience sudden hearing loss or dizziness when exposed to loud noises, or if you notice any changes in how things sound make an appointment with an ear specialist right away.
Ear Care and Earwax
Ear wax is a natural substance that helps protect the ear canal from dirt and bacteria. For most people, ear wax does not cause any problems. However, if too much wax builds up in the ear canal, it can cause pain and hearing loss.
If the wax is soft, try washing it out with warm water. Do not put anything into your ear because this could push the wax further into your ear canal.
- If you experience an earache, see your doctor.
Earaches are usually the result of an infection or inflammation in the middle ear—the space between your eardrum and the inner ear. Ear wax buildup can cause pain, but it’s not always the cause, so don’t assume that it’s just because of excess wax. The best thing to do in this case is to visit your doctor and get an ear checkup. Choosing the right hearing aid clinic will be the game changer in this situation, as the right professionals will not only properly identify any problem associated with your hearing, but also suggest the most optimal natural earache solutions that will protect your ear.
- Avoid putting anything in your ears.
Never put anything into your ears, no cotton swabs, and no Q-tips! This can damage your eardrums or even push wax deeper into your ear canal, making it harder to remove on your own later on.
Hearing Loss Symptoms
It is a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide.
Hearing loss can occur at any age, and it’s often progressive, meaning it gets worse over time.
Symptoms can include difficulty hearing conversations in noisy places, difficulty following conversations, and trouble understanding speech in noisy places such as restaurants or sporting events.
The following are some of the most common types of hearing loss:
- Age-related hearing loss is generally due to the aging process and occurs gradually over time. It’s characterized by a gradual decline in hearing sensitivity at high frequencies (i.e., pitches). Most people who have age-related hearing loss begin to experience mild symptoms when they’re in their late 50s or early 60s, but some people experience symptoms as early as their 30s or 40s.
- Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves aren’t transmitted properly through the outer ear canal (external auditory canal), middle ear, or eardrum, possibly due to blockage by wax or fluid build-up in the external canal. Conductive hearing loss can be corrected with medical treatment (such as cleaning out earwax) or surgery, if necessary.
Hearing loss isn’t always an obvious problem, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of hearing loss. If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor or hearing care professional. It’s also highly recommended to take regular hearing tests that will help identify any hearing complications early on and make it easier to prevent further damage to your ears.
Ear care is essential to your hearing health. If you don’t take proper care of your ears, you’re at risk of developing hearing loss and other complications.
Hence, make sure to use the above-mentioned ear care tips and contact your hearing doctor in case of any complications.