How to Keep Your Ears Healthy

superheroyou How to Keep Your Ears Healthy

Think hearing loss is a problem for old people? Think again! Earlier this year, the World Health Organization released a report saying that 1.1 billion young adults worldwide are at risk for hearing loss due to unsafe noise practices. But a lot of hearing loss is preventable! Keep your ears safe with these tips.

1. Keep them clean.

Keeping your ears clean helps prevent infection. Clean the visible part of your ear with a little soap and water – but not in the bath. Dunking your ears in bathwater can transfer unwanted bacteria from your body to your ear. You should also clean earbuds and earrings regularly too.

2. Don’t poke.

Do you use a cotton swab to clear out your earwax? Don’t! Earwax is actually a self-cleaning agent; so your ears are perfectly clean without you poking around in there. In fact, don’t poke anything into your ear – you could easily damage the delicate lining there. If you do have a buildup of earwax, go see a doctor to get it out. And forget the ear candling! It doesn’t work.

3. Turn down the volume.

According to the aforementioned WHO report, nearly 50% of people 12-35 are regularly exposed to unsafe levels of sound just from their personal audio devices. This constant stream can cause hearing loss over time – but there are several things you can do. Get noise-cancelling headphones which let you lower the volume, and avoid earbuds which send the sound directly into your ears. Follow the 60/60 rule: 60 percent of maximum volume for 60 minutes max at a time. And remember, if someone else can hear it, it’s too loud. Plus, that means you won’t be able to hear things that could harm you – like an oncoming car.

4. Get earplugs. 

Wear earmuffs or earplugs in noisy environments to protect your hearing. Concerts, nightclubs and loud sporting events are an obvious best – but you should also protect your ears if you’re doing loud garden work (think mowing the lawn) or around power tools like a chainsaw. And give your ears a break after! You need 16 hours of quiet to recover from spending 2 hours in 100 decibels of sound. For perspective, a motorbike emits about 100dB.

5. Be careful when you travel.

That unpleasant sensation in your ears as your plane takes off and lands occurs because your body’s having trouble equalizing the air pressure. Help yourself out by swallowing and yawning frequently, chewing gum or sucking on candy. You can also get earplugs with special filters.

6. See your doctor.

Don’t ignore problems with your ears! Early detection is important in almost all health conditions, so see your doctor for issues like short-term hearing loss, ear discharge, pain or flaking – even if you don’t think they’re a big deal. Your ears can also tell you a lot about your overall health. Don’t have any ear issues? Get them checked by your primary care physician during your annual physical.

7. Pierce safely.

If you want to get an ear piercing, consider restricting it to your earlobes. Your cartilage doesn’t have as much blood to fight infections, so cartilage piercings are much more likely to get infected. Whatever you get pierced, follow the care instructions diligently and watch out for signs of infection or allergic reaction.

8. Keep them dry.

Water in your ear isn’t just uncomfortable – the moisture makes it easier for bacteria to enter your ear and infect you. Avoid painful conditions like swimmer’s ear by drying your ears thoroughly after swimming or bathing. Towel dry your ears thoroughly and shake out any excess water. You may need to tilt your head and pull on your earlobe to get it all out.

9. Eat right.

There are several nutrients that promote healthy ears and hearing – such as magnesium, zinc and potassium. Learn about them (and the foods that contain them) here.

10. Protect them from the elements.

Did you know that the top of the ear is a common spot to discover skin cancer? So don’t forget about your ears when you’re applying sunscreen. And protect them from the cold and wind in winter by wearing a hat that covers your ears or getting a pair of earmuffs.

11. Follow proper sports protections.

If it’s a sport that can injure your head, it can injure your ears – especially since concussions can affect your hearing. So wear helmets during exercises that recommend it and avoid sports that increase your risk of head injury. You should also follow any specific ear protections for sports that recommend it, like scuba diving and motor sports.

12. Watch your colds.

While children are most susceptible to ear infections, adults can get them too. Reduce your risk by treating any upper respiratory infections, like a cold or sore throat, promptly. You should also dose up on cold meds before you fly – when you’re congested, you’re more at risk for eardrum damage during take-off and landing.

13. Be careful of drugs.

Did you know that some medications can damage your ears and hearing? Be sure to read the fine print or ask your doctor. And be careful of OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen. All of these can lead to hearing loss if you take them too often.

14. Take care of the rest of your body.

There are several conditions that can affect your ears and hearing, so it’s important to take care of your overall health as well. Treat infections before they spread, and avoid excess alcohol, smoking or illegal drugs – all of which can damage your hearing. And don’t forget to exercise! Cardio is good for your hearing because it helps blood flow in your ears.

Enjoyed this? Check out 10 Health Checkups You Didn’t Know You Needed!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

 

Think hearing loss is a problem for old people? Think again! Earlier this year, the World Health Organization released a report saying that 1.1 billion young adults worldwide are at risk for hearing loss due to unsafe noise practices. But a lot of hearing loss is preventable! Keep your ears safe with these tips.

1. Keep them clean.

Keeping your ears clean helps prevent infection. Clean the visible part of your ear with a little soap and water – but not in the bath. Dunking your ears in bathwater can transfer unwanted bacteria from your body to your ear. You should also clean earbuds and earrings regularly too.

2. Don’t poke.

Do you use a cotton swab to clear out your earwax? Don’t! Earwax is actually a self-cleaning agent; so your ears are perfectly clean without you poking around in there. In fact, don’t poke anything into your ear – you could easily damage the delicate lining there. If you do have a buildup of earwax, go see a doctor to get it out. And forget the ear candling! It doesn’t work.

3. Turn down the volume.

According to the aforementioned WHO report, nearly 50% of people 12-35 are regularly exposed to unsafe levels of sound just from their personal audio devices. This constant stream can cause hearing loss over time – but there are several things you can do. Get noise-cancelling headphones which let you lower the volume, and avoid earbuds which send the sound directly into your ears. Follow the 60/60 rule: 60 percent of maximum volume for 60 minutes max at a time. And remember, if someone else can hear it, it’s too loud. Plus, that means you won’t be able to hear things that could harm you – like an oncoming car.

4. Get earplugs. 

Wear earmuffs or earplugs in noisy environments to protect your hearing. Concerts, nightclubs and loud sporting events are an obvious best – but you should also protect your ears if you’re doing loud garden work (think mowing the lawn) or around power tools like a chainsaw. And give your ears a break after! You need 16 hours of quiet to recover from spending 2 hours in 100 decibels of sound. For perspective, a motorbike emits about 100dB.

5. Be careful when you travel.

That unpleasant sensation in your ears as your plane takes off and lands occurs because your body’s having trouble equalizing the air pressure. Help yourself out by swallowing and yawning frequently, chewing gum or sucking on candy. You can also get earplugs with special filters.

6. See your doctor.

Don’t ignore problems with your ears! Early detection is important in almost all health conditions, so see your doctor for issues like short-term hearing loss, ear discharge, pain or flaking – even if you don’t think they’re a big deal. Your ears can also tell you a lot about your overall health. Don’t have any ear issues? Get them checked by your primary care physician during your annual physical.

7. Pierce safely.

If you want to get an ear piercing, consider restricting it to your earlobes. Your cartilage doesn’t have as much blood to fight infections, so cartilage piercings are much more likely to get infected. Whatever you get pierced, follow the care instructions diligently and watch out for signs of infection or allergic reaction.

8. Keep them dry.

Water in your ear isn’t just uncomfortable – the moisture makes it easier for bacteria to enter your ear and infect you. Avoid painful conditions like swimmer’s ear by drying your ears thoroughly after swimming or bathing. Towel dry your ears thoroughly and shake out any excess water. You may need to tilt your head and pull on your earlobe to get it all out.

9. Eat right.

There are several nutrients that promote healthy ears and hearing – such as magnesium, zinc and potassium. Learn about them (and the foods that contain them) here.

10. Protect them from the elements.

Did you know that the top of the ear is a common spot to discover skin cancer? So don’t forget about your ears when you’re applying sunscreen. And protect them from the cold and wind in winter by wearing a hat that covers your ears or getting a pair of earmuffs.

11. Follow proper sports protections.

If it’s a sport that can injure your head, it can injure your ears – especially since concussions can affect your hearing. So wear helmets during exercises that recommend it and avoid sports that increase your risk of head injury. You should also follow any specific ear protections for sports that recommend it, like scuba diving and motor sports.

12. Watch your colds.

While children are most susceptible to ear infections, adults can get them too. Reduce your risk by treating any upper respiratory infections, like a cold or sore throat, promptly. You should also dose up on cold meds before you fly – when you’re congested, you’re more at risk for eardrum damage during take-off and landing.

13. Be careful of drugs.

Did you know that some medications can damage your ears and hearing? Be sure to read the fine print or ask your doctor. And be careful of OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen. All of these can lead to hearing loss if you take them too often.

14. Take care of the rest of your body.

There are several conditions that can affect your ears and hearing, so it’s important to take care of your overall health as well. Treat infections before they spread, and avoid excess alcohol, smoking or illegal drugs – all of which can damage your hearing. And don’t forget to exercise! Cardio is good for your hearing because it helps blood flow in your ears.

Enjoyed this? Check out 10 Health Checkups You Didn’t Know You Needed!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

 

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