According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), a division of the National Institutes of Health, approximately 15 percent of adults 18 and over report some difficulty hearing. Knowing these daily habits to follow to maintain good ear health can help you preserve your hearing and avoid diseases in your ears.
Protect Your Ears in Loud Environments
Loud noises are everywhere—traffic, sirens, loud music, and leaf blowers blast away around every corner. Earplugs and noise-canceling headphones can mitigate some of the damage loud noise can cause to your ears and hearing.
Lower the Volume
While the world around us can inflict a lot of noise on our ears, we often do it to ourselves by keeping the volume on headphones or earbuds too high. A good rule of thumb is to listen at no more than 60 percent volume for no longer than 60 minutes.
It’s not just headphones: high volume on televisions, phones, and even at social gatherings are also potential sources of damage to hearing.
See an Otolaryngologist To Remove Ear Wax
Never, never stick a cotton swab into your ear canal—you’ll just end up driving earwax further into your ear and possibly damaging your eardrum. If you think you have excess ear wax, see an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT), also known as an otolaryngologist.
These doctors are trained in disorders of the ears and related structures. They can use a special solution to drain or soften wax, or a disposable ear curette to scoop ear wax gently and safely out of the ear canal.
Keep Your Ears Dry
Water in the ear can promote bacteria growth and lead to ear infections such as swimmer’s ear, which is a painful infection of the outer ear canal. Make sure to dry your ears thoroughly after showering or swimming. If water remains in your ears, tilt your head and tug gently on the affected earlobe. This action, in addition to the power of gravity, can coax it out.
Take a Noise Break
Ears need recovery time after prolonged exposure to noise. Find a quiet place to give your ears a break and practice listening to quieter sounds that you can’t detect in loud spaces.
Get Your Hearing Checked
Some health conditions and medications can contribute to hearing loss. Annual checkups should include a discussion of how overall health may affect hearing.
Along with regular medical checkups, get your hearing regularly tested. It’s reasonable to expect some reduction in hearing to come with age, but not all hearing loss is caused by aging. The earlier you can identify that you might be experiencing hearing loss, the sooner you can do something to slow the process.
Practicing these daily habits to follow to maintain good ear health can help prevent or slow hearing loss. Avoid painful infections by following these habits.