Health Checks & Caring for and Cleaning Your Ears
When it comes to taking care of our ears, most of us don’t give them much thought beyond giving them a good clean with a cotton bud after a shower (which you shouldn’t do!). However, it’s just as important to care for your ears as it is to look after your eyes or teeth. To get you started, here are our top tips for caring for and cleaning your ears.
Caring for Your Ears
Visit an Audiologist
Regularly visiting an audiologist for a hearing test is a vital part of caring for your ears. Since hearing loss happens gradually, you’re unlikely to notice any issues with your ears until years down the line, whereas regular hearing tests give your audiologist a baseline to work from. They can then use this baseline test to compare against all of your following test results to monitor any changes in your level of hearing.
Keep the Volume Down
It might sound like simple common sense, but the easiest way that you can care for your ears is by protecting them against any unnecessary noise. Excessive levels of noise are one of the most damaging aspects of daily life when it comes to the health of your ears and if you’re like most people, you might not even be aware that some of your daily habits are causing your hearing some potentially permanent harm.
If you are serious about caring for your ears then you should start by being more mindful of the level at which you listen to music. Most of us ignore the recommended limit that most mobile phones now display when we raise the volume above a certain level, however, this could lead to some long-term damage. Over time, our ears get used to this higher volume leading us to further increase it which has both long and short term consequences as your hearing can take up 48 hours to recover from exposure to loud noise.
Dry Your Ears
Too much moisture in your ears is the cause of most people’s issues when it comes to irritation, inflammation, or infection in the ear canal. While swimmers can often have issues with their ears because of this, keeping them dry should be an essential part of ear care for everyone.
Generally speaking, your ears do a good job of looking after themselves but too much trapped moisture can make your ears a haven for bacteria so make sure to always gently dry them with a towel after bathing, showering, and swimming.
Cleaning Your Ears
Avoid Cotton Buds
Properly cleaning your ears is not just about what you should do but also about what you shouldn’t do. Most of us reach for cotton buds after a shower to give our ears a good clean but they can actually do more harm than good, pushing earwax and dirt further into the ear canal rather than removing it.
Did you know, that most hearing professionals actually recommend that you shouldn’t put anything smaller than the size of your elbow in your ears? So, no cotton buds then which are far smaller. Instead, use a warm washcloth to clean your outer ear then towel dry it.
Preventing Impacted Wax
Normally, earwax isn’t an issue and helps to protect your ear canal, however, impacted earwax can eventually turn into a blockage and cause a number of unpleasant symptoms including ringing in the ear, earache, itchiness, and a change in hearing.
If you have suffered from impacted earwax in the past, then there are a couple of steps you can take to prevent it from happening again. The easiest way to clean your ears and prevent a build-up of earwax is by using either commercial wax-softening ear drops or a couple of drops of olive oil in your ear canal every week. This will soften the ear wax and hopefully prevent it from building up to a level where it obstructs the ear canal or becomes symptomatic.