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by James Thomas, Wednesday, July 20, 2016 | Categories: General Health

Listen Up: Tips for Ear Health!

Our ears are incredibly important to our everyday lives yet caring for their health often seems to be little more than an afterthought for many people. The good news is that it is not difficult to take a little extra time to make sure you are caring for your ears in the correct manner.

Cleaning ears

It is important that you take extra special care when you are cleaning your ears. You should use a tissue or a gentle washcloth to wipe the outside of the ear, and nothing smaller than an elbow should be placed inside your ear! Cotton buds or any kind of pointed, sharp object should not be used to clean out your ears as they can injure the eardrum or ear canal.

The ear has its own mechanism for cleaning itself in the form of ear wax but if your hearing is being blocked by a wax build-up then you should see your doctor in order to have it professionally removed. If your ears begin hurting or itching go to your doctor to find the best treatment method; you may need to be referred to a specialist in some situations. People with pierced ears should regularly use rubbing alcohol to clean both the earrings and their earlobes.

Illnesses and medicines

Ears can suffer illnesses and infections just like any other part of the human anatomy, and need to be treated by a health professional. Treating infections of the upper respiratory system in a prompt manner, however, can help with cutting down on the risk of developing an ear infection.

There are a number of medical conditions and illnesses that can have an impact on your hearing, so see your doctor immediately if you suddenly experience a loss of hearing or endure a constant noise in your head or ears. Ear drainage is abnormal and often indicative of some kind of infection, so consult a healthcare professional as soon as you can.

Hearing can also be affected by some medicines, so be sure to take them only as directed and visit your GP if you are experiencing ringing in the ears, balance problems or any kind of unusual hearing.

Noise issues

If you are going to be exposed to loud noise levels at work or at home, such as when using power tools, a lawn mower or leaf blower, then you need to wear protection. Noisy work environments require hearing protection by law. Hearing is not protected by the use of ear buds and it can actually be dangerous to your hearing to listen to music while using power tools. High volume levels should also be avoided with home theatre systems, stereos and any kind of personal sound system. If you are going out to a motor sport event, nightclub or rock concert, you should wear earplugs.


If you engage in activities that put your head and ears at risk of injury, such as biking, skiing or rollerblading, you should always make sure to wear a helmet. If you're taking a flight, then you should yawn and swallow continually when the plane is in ascent or descent in order to equalise the pressure in your ears. If you have a sinus infection or cold, then you can consume a decongestant a couple of hours prior to descent or make use of a decongestant spray before descent and landing.

General ear care tips

Your doctor should give your ears a check-up on a regular basis. A sunscreen needs to be used on your ears in sunny weather as it does with any other exposed area of your body. Consult a doctor if you find any scaly areas or strange bumps on the exterior of your ear.

Finally, it is also a good idea to be aware of some things that can be warning signs for hearing loss; these include:

  • Difficulty in hearing conversations, particularly when there is background noise
  • Misunderstanding other people and making inappropriate responses
  • Needing the television to be louder than is preferred by others in the room
  • Noise within the ear not the result of external sources

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