Ears are sensitive organs and demand caution and care. Ear care is often overlooked when people talk about body health. It is the most neglected organ. The attention is paid to ears only when there’s a medical emergency.
The only drawback of neglected ear care is sighted to be a loss of hearing which again, is often related to aging. This is not true. Loss of hearing can be due to various reasons. There are three major types of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This occurs when the sensory cells in the inner ear are damaged or injured.
- Conductive Hearing Loss: This is most common amongst children. This is caused when there is a problem with the middle or outer ear.
- Mixed Hearing Loss: This can occur in any part of the ear. It is the combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Here are some tips that will help you in taking care of ears:
- The eardrum and the ear canal can be easily harmed while cleaning the ear. Always use medically tested ear buds to clean your ear.
- Do not use any sharp objects or safety pins and bobby pins to clean your ear.
- Earwax is ear’s self-cleaning agent but excess built up of earwax can lead to an impaired hearing. If you are unable to get rid of it yourself, consult an ENT specialist at the earliest.
- Excessive cleaning too can harm your ear. The earwax has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Clean your ears not more than once a week and not less than once every 15 days.
- Clean your earlobes with a gentle damp washcloth or a cotton swab. Avoid using water and soap directly.
Avoiding Illness and Infections
- The upper respiratory infections, when untreated, can increase the risk of ear infections. Treat the ear infections before they escalate into an untreatable problem.
- If you experience a sudden loss in hearing or a continuous sound in your ears, rush to a doctor. This can be due to an untreatable medical condition or an illness.
- Drainage from the ears after a shower is normal. The ear drains out excess water, but if it is not water, then it can be a cause of concern and you should consult a specialist.
Dealing with Noise
- Constant exposure to loud sound can lead to an impaired hearing. If your work requires being in a noisy environment, then make sure you use protective headgear to minimise exposure to the sound. Exposure to loud sound and noise could also result in a migraine.
- Avoid using earphones or earplugs while listening to music for a longer duration. Continuous usage has scientifically proven to diminish hearing ability. When listening to music or watching movies, keep the volume at permissible levels.
- If you are a swimmer, make sure to wear earplugs to prevent chlorinated water from entering your ears. The regular exposure to chlorinated water can harm the eardrums.
- In flight, keep swallowing and yawning during ascent and descent to equalise pressure in your ears.
- If you are flying with a cold, then it is advisable to take/use decongestants before the plane takes off and lands.
Paying Attention to the Warning Signs
Regular check-ups can be useful in preventing any severe damage to the eardrums. The early diagnosis can be vital in avoiding permanent damage to the ear. Pay attention to ear just like the rest of your body. If you see any bumps or external growth on the earlobe, consult your ENT immediately.
Lookout for these warning signs to prevent grave consequences:
- Any pain in the ear that lasts more than 24 hours.
- Any drainage or continuous ringing in the ears.
- Difficulty in hearing what the other person on the phone is saying.
- Listening to music or TV on louder volumes than you usually do.
- Difficulty in listening to what people speak.
These are the most common symptoms that can help you in detecting the early onset of any ear related issue.
The ear comprises of the smallest bones in the human body and is amongst the most fragile bones. Practicing caution can help prevent certain types of hearing losses and taking care of your ear.