Our ears are very important to keep healthy as not only do they allow us to hear, they are also essential for maintaining good balance. Problems with your ears can lead to many problems, so how do we keep our ears healthy and avoid problems?
Cleaning Your Ears
Keeping your ears clean is very important, as unclean ears can lead to infections and these can be very painful and can cause problems with your balance. But there is a certain way you need to clean your ears.
First of all, it’s important to note that you should NEVER put anything inside the ear. This includes cotton tips and hairpins, which many people use to try and clean out the ear. By poking things into your ear, you can severely damage the ear canal and could also cause damage to your eardrum, which is not always repairable. You should therefore only ever clean the outer ear, and seek professional medical care for inner ear cleaning.
To clean the outer ear, use a soapy washcloth to clean the outer ear and behind the ears. Make sure that you dry the ear well, as any damp residue can cause bacteria growth which again can lead to an ear infection.
If you suffer from a build up of ear wax, first try using olive oil drops which are effective in loosening hard wax. If this doesn’t work, you can try over the counter ear drops which contain gentle medicines to help loosen the wax. However, if you have to use the drops for more than a week, it is important that you see your doctor to have your ears checked and cleaned properly. If you suffer from regular ear wax build up, it can help to use olive oil drops once a week (even when they are clear) to prevent the wax from hardening and building up in your ears.
If you have piercings in your ears, make sure that you clean these regularly with an antiseptic like TCP, as this can prevent infections from occurring in your piercings.
Medical Ear Care
Ear infections are more common in some people than others, but if you suffer from an ear infection you’ll notice symptoms like ear ache and possibly puss or extra wax as well as blocked ears and crackling sounds. If you get any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor straight away and you will more than likely be prescribed with antibiotics to clear the infection. An untreated infection can become quite serious and could lead to deafness in severe cases so it’s always best to be safe.
If you have ‘problem ears’, as in ears that are often infected or painful, you should seek medical advice but you can help by always trying to keep your ears dry as dampness can cause bacteria growth.
Make sure that you learn the signs of hearing loss so that you can seek medical attention if you ever experience symptoms. These can include difficulty hearing, muffled sound, regularly having to ask people to repeat themselves, having to have radio and TV volumes loud, pain in the ear and so on. If you experience any symptoms of hearing loss, seek medical attention straight away as your doctor may be able to figure out the problem and offer medical help.
It’s always a good idea to have your ears checked regularly to make sure that they are in good health – you can do this by visiting your doctor or by finding an ear specialist who will see you twice a year to check that everything is as it should be.
General Ear Care
Of course, things that we do every day can pose risks to ear health too so it’s always a good idea to take precautions.
If you work in a very loud environment, such as on a building site or with loud machinery, make sure you wear ear defenders to prevent loud noise from damaging the eardrums. Similarly, if you attend a loud event such as motor racing, it’s always safe to wear earplugs to block out loud noise. And when using music devices, make sure that the volume isn’t too loud as this can damage your eardrums too.
If you enjoy swimming, it is important that you wear swimming ear plugs which are designed to keep water out of your ears. Chlorine and regularly getting lots of water in your ears can affect your ear health and could lead to ongoing problems as well as early hearing loss as you age.
If you fly, make sure that you suck on sweets to help reduce the amount of pressure build up in the ears. You can also by special pressure regulating earplugs that are designed specifically for keeping your ears healthy when flying.
Gemma Mitchell is a freelance writer who writes about health related issues, problems and tips. For more information about ENT, Sinus and snoring issues please visit this great resource on ENT surgery I found.