Are you looking to improve the health of your ears? If so, check out this guide to learn the top ear health tips.
Over 48 million Americans experience some form of hearing loss.
Signs that you may have a hearing problem include an inability to hear when using the telephone, difficulty hearing conversations, and ringing in the ears called tinnitus.
While age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss, there are many ways to look after your ear health no matter what age you are.
From regular hearing checks to taking precautions in noisy environments, here are some tips on how to look after your ears.
Lower the Volume
When listening to music using earbuds or headphones, keep the volume at a comfortable level. If people around you can hear what you’re listening to, the volume is too high.
Most phones warn you when you turn the volume up to unsafe levels but you can also use the 60/60 rule as a guide. This advises using headphones at no more than 60 percent volume for no more than 60 minutes per day.
If you like to listen to music in the street, don’t turn up the volume to drown out traffic sounds. Instead, turn your device off and wait until you can hear the music at a reasonable volume.
And, if you find that you need the volume of the TV higher than everyone else, you should have your hearing checked. These days, audiometer testing equipment makes getting a hearing check-up quick and easy, and it can help you pinpoint what the problem could be.
Protect Your Ears in Noisy Environments
Of course, it’s not just with headphone use that you need to be careful. Any loud music or noise can present a risk of hearing loss.
If you’re at a bar or party and need to shout over the music to have a conversation, you should at least go outside every half an hour or so to give your ears a rest. But ideally, wearing earplugs in these kinds of environments, as well as at concerts and festivals, is the best way to protect your ears.
If you work in a noisy environment or use noisy equipment such as chainsaws and lawnmowers, earplugs are a must. Get a pair custom-fitted to your ears by your local hearing healthcare provider to avoid ear problems in the future.
Let Your Ears Recover
The day after a long hike you’d probably take it easy. The same goes for your ears after a noisy night out.
If you’re exposed to high volumes for a prolonged period, your ears need around 16 hours of quiet time to recover. As such, after a night out at a loud bar or a rock concert, try to stick to quiet activities such as reading or walking in nature the following day.
Avoid Using Cotton Swabs
Contrary to popular belief, cotton swabs do not make good ear cleaning tools! In fact, you shouldn’t poke your ears with anything as this can damage sensitive organs like your eardrum.
Wax stops particles from entering the ear canal so it’s unnecessary to remove it. That said, if you have excess wax, the best way to go about cleaning ears is to use an ear wax removal solution. This softens the wax so that it flows out on its own.
An active lifestyle is great for every part of your mind and body, and that includes your ears. Cardio exercises like cycling and walking get the blood pumping around your body, including to the ears. This helps your ears’ internal parts work as they should and stay healthy.
But, always stay safe when exercising outside. That means protecting your external ear from sunburn with sunscreen and using a helmet when cycling. A concussion can harm your hearing, while a blow to the head can damage your inner ear bones.
Keep Your Ears Dry
Swimming is another way to stay active and improve your health. But it’s important to dry your ears well after water-based activities.
Excess moisture inside the ear canal can allow bacteria to enter. This can lead to ‘swimmer’s ear’ or other ear infections, which can damage your hearing.
Make sure to towel-dry your ears after swimming and bathing to avoid this. And, if you can feel the water in your ears, tilt your head to one side and pull your ear lobe to encourage the water to flow out.
Another alternative is to use custom-fit swimmers’ earplugs. These block water from entering the ear canal and are an ideal way to protect both children’s and adults’ ears.
Manage Stress Levels
Stress and anxiety can lead to a variety of health problems, including both temporary and permanent tinnitus.
This is because high stress levels cause a reaction in your body that puts pressure on your nerves and blood flow. Experts believe that this pressure can travel to your inner ear and cause tinnitus symptoms.
If you are experiencing high stress levels, it’s vital to take steps to relieve stress for your mental and physical health, including the health of your ears.
Get Regular Hearing Check-Ups
Just as it’s important to get regular eye tests and dental check-ups, you should get regular hearing screenings.
Hearing loss develops at a gradual rate, so ask your primary doctor for annual hearing consultations with a hearing specialist. Regular checks mean you’ll be more likely to catch early signs of potential hearing problems and take action as soon as you do.
And, if you experience any ear pain, injure your ears, or notice changes in your hearing or balance, be sure to see an ear doctor straight away.
The Top Ear Health Tips
For the good of your ear health and quality of life, it’s important to look after your ears and take steps to protect your hearing.
Hearing loss can be isolating and it has also been linked to other conditions, including dementia, depression, and heart disease. But, by following this advice you can help to keep your ears in great condition.