It’s easy to take our ears for granted, but give them plenty of TLC and they’ll certainly thank you for it. Ear care is extremely important for ensuring our ears are protected against damaging sounds and substances (such as water) and helps to keep hearing loss at bay.
There are a number of simple but highly effective ways of caring for your ears. Below, we discuss our top 10 tips for caring for your ears, to help you safeguard their long term health. If you suspect you’re suffering from hearing loss and need a hearing test, book an appointment at one of our clinics in Chichester, Horsham or Seaford.
Our Top Tips on Protecting Your Hearing
1. Use hearing protection for loud music
If you regularly go to concerts, ensure you’re protecting your ears from loud music by using earplugs or taking regular breaks from the sound.
It can take up to 16 hours of quiet time to recover from one excessively loud night out. A regular 5 minute break will help your ears recover but wearing earplugs or earmuffs will offer extra protection.
At South East Hearing Care Centres, we offer custom moulded earplugs for a range of uses to help protect your ears fully against damaging noises. Talk to our team about our earplug services today.
2. Don’t listen to your personal music player at a high volume
Not being able to hear external sounds when your headphones are on, or if the person next to you can hear it too, means it’s too loud. We recommend that for an MP3 player or equivalent device, 60% volume for 60 minutes a day is ample. If your loud music is causing ear pain, this is another sign that you need to take a break.
Listening to personal music players at a high volume can have several negative effects on your health and well-being. Here are a few reasons why you should avoid doing this:
Hearing damage: Listening to music at a high volume for an extended period can lead to permanent hearing loss or damage. Our ears have a limited capacity to handle loud sounds, and exposing them to excessive volumes can cause irreversible harm.
Tinnitus: Playing music at high volumes can also increase the risk of developing tinnitus, a condition characterised by a constant ringing or buzzing sound in the ears. Tinnitus can be persistent and interfere with everyday life, making it difficult to concentrate or sleep.
To protect your hearing and overall well-being, it is important to listen to music at a moderate volume. If you are using headphones or earphones, consider using noise-cancelling or isolating ones that block out external noise, allowing you to enjoy your music at a lower volume while still hearing it clearly.
3. Keep the sound as low as possible on the TV and radio
We all enjoy our favourite TV shows, movies, and music, but blasting them at high volumes for hours on end is a recipe for disaster. Not only can it cause immediate discomfort and annoyance, but it can also have long-term effects on our hearing. Constant exposure to loud sounds can lead to hearing loss, tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing sensation in the ears), and other auditory problems.
So, how can we prevent this? The answer is simple: turn down the volume. Keeping the sound at a moderate level is not only more comfortable for our ears but also allows us to hear other sounds in our environment. If you find yourself having to shout to be heard over the noise coming from your TV or radio, it’s a clear sign that the volume is too high.
Reducing the volume even slightly can make a significant difference in protecting your ear health. It may take some time to adjust, especially if you’re used to having the sound blaring, but your ears will thank you in the long run. Consider investing in a good pair of headphones or earbuds, as they can help you enjoy your favourite shows or music without disturbing others and without the need to turn up the volume.
Additionally, be mindful of the noise levels in your surroundings. If you’re in a noisy environment, try to find a quieter spot or use earplugs to reduce the impact on your ears. This is particularly important if you regularly attend concerts, sporting events, or any other loud gatherings.
Remember, protecting your ear health is essential, and making simple adjustments like keeping the sound as low as possible on your TV and radio can go a long way. Taking care of your ears now will ensure that you can continue to enjoy the beauty of sound for years to come.
4. Rail against workplace noise
Excessive workplace noise can not only be irritating, but it can also have a negative impact on your hearing health. If you find yourself constantly exposed to loud noises such as drills and machinery, it is important to address this issue with your HR Manager. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your ears and maintain your hearing health in a noisy work environment:
1. Communication is key: Start by discussing your concerns with your HR Manager. Explain how the excessive noise is affecting your ability to concentrate and perform your tasks effectively. They may be able to implement measures to reduce the noise levels or provide you with the necessary equipment to protect your ears.
2. Custom moulded earplugs: If your workplace does not provide adequate protection against noise, consider investing in custom moulded earplugs. These earplugs are specifically designed to fit your ear canal, providing a comfortable and secure fit. Unlike generic earplugs, custom moulded ones can effectively block out harmful noise while still allowing you to hear important sounds like speech, ambient noise, shouted warnings, alarms, telephones, and radios. They are a great option for those who work in consistently noisy environments.
3. Take regular breaks: If possible, try to take short breaks away from the noisy area. Use this time to rest your ears and allow them to recover from constant exposure to loud sounds. Stepping outside or finding a quiet spot in the workplace can do wonders for your hearing health.
4. Use noise-cancelling headphones: If your workplace permits it, invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. These headphones work by actively reducing external noise, creating a quieter environment for you to work in. They can be particularly helpful if you need to focus on a task that requires concentration and minimal distractions.
5. Get regular hearing check-ups: It is important to monitor your hearing health regularly, especially if you work in a noisy environment. Schedule regular appointments with an audiologist to have your hearing tested. Early detection of any hearing loss can help prevent further damage and allow for appropriate interventions.
Remember, protecting your ears from excessive workplace noise is crucial for maintaining your hearing health in the long run. By taking proactive measures and advocating for yourself, you can ensure a safe and conducive work environment for your ears.
5. Reduce loud music in the car
We all love jamming out to our favourite tunes while driving, but have you ever stopped to think about the potential harm it could cause to your ears? As enjoyable as it may be, blasting loud music in a confined space like your car can actually put undue pressure on your ears, leading to long-term damage to your hearing.
Now that we know the potential risks, it’s crucial to take steps to reduce loud music in the car. Here are some tips to help protect your ears:
1. Set a volume limit: Before starting your car, set a maximum volume limit on your sound system. By doing so, you’ll have a predefined threshold that prevents you from turning up the volume to dangerous levels.
2. Use noise-cancelling headphones: If you prefer listening to music through headphones, invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. These innovative devices block out external noise, allowing you to enjoy your music at a lower volume without the need to drown out any background noise.
3. Opt for lower volumes: Instead of cranking up the volume to drown out external noise, try to keep it at a reasonable level. This way, you can still enjoy your music while being aware of your surroundings, such as emergency vehicle sirens or honking horns.
4. Take breaks: If you’re planning a long drive, make sure to take regular breaks from listening to music. Give your ears some rest by turning off the sound system altogether. This break will not only reduce the risk of ear damage but also help prevent ear fatigue.
5. Choose soundproofing options: Consider soundproofing your car by adding insulation materials to reduce external noise. This will allow you to enjoy your music at lower volumes without the need for excessive volume levels to overcome road noise.
Remember, protecting your ears is crucial for maintaining good hearing health. By reducing loud music in your car and following these simple tips, you can enjoy your favourite songs while still keeping your ears safe from harm. So, next time you hit the road, turn down the volume and prioritise your hearing wellbeing. Your ears will thank you in the long run!
6. Don’t use cotton buds or ear candling
Caring for the health of our ears is often overlooked, but it is crucial to ensure overall well-being. While many people resort to using cotton buds as a quick and easy method to remove earwax, this common practice is not advisable and can actually be harmful.
Inserting cotton buds or cotton swabs into the ear canal to clean your ears can do more harm than good. Instead of removing earwax, the buds can inadvertently push the ear wax further into the ear canal, leading to a blockage or impaction. This blockage can cause various symptoms such as earache, hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or even dizziness. Using a cotton bud can damage delicate ear canals and potentially perforate the eardrum, resulting in severe complications and potential hearing loss.
It’s important to understand that earwax plays a vital role in protecting our ears. It helps trap dirt, dust, and other foreign particles, preventing them from reaching the delicate structures of the ear canal. As a natural self-cleaning process, the earwax slowly moves from the inner ear to the outer ear, where it eventually dries up and falls out. Therefore, it is unnecessary to clean your ears excessively or try to remove earwax on your own.
Ear candling is damaging to your ears because it can cause several potential harms. There is a risk of burns and injuries to the external ear, face, and hair due to the heat and flames involved in the process. The melted wax and residue from the candle can enter the ear canal, potentially leading to blockage or impaction. This may further result in discomfort, hearing loss, and even damage to the eardrum. The suction created by the ear candling process is not proven to effectively remove earwax or any other debris from the ear canal.
To maintain healthy ears, it is recommended to gently clean the outer ear with a soft cloth during regular bathing or showering. However, avoid inserting any objects into the ear canal, including cotton buds, as they can disrupt the natural cleaning process and potentially cause harm.
If you suspect that you have excess earwax or are experiencing any discomfort, it is crucial to seek professional help. Qualified audiologists, like those at South East Hearing Care Centres, possess the necessary expertise and proper tools to safely remove earwax. They can assess your condition and determine the most suitable method to address the issue, whether it involves earwax blockage, ear wax removal, or managing wax buildup.
7. Have regular hearing tests
Regular hearing tests are an essential part of maintaining good ear health and preventing any potential issues from progressing. By scheduling regular hearing tests, you can stay informed about the condition of your ears and take necessary steps to address any problems.
One of the primary benefits of regular hearing tests is that they can detect any changes or deterioration in your hearing ability. As we age, our hearing naturally declines, but other factors such as exposure to loud noises, medical conditions, or certain medications can also contribute to hearing loss. By undergoing hearing tests at regular intervals, you can identify any changes early on and take appropriate action.
These tests can also help determine if your current hearing aids are effectively meeting your needs. Over time, your hearing may change, and the settings on your hearing aids may need to be adjusted. By regularly monitoring your hearing, audiologists can make necessary modifications to optimise the performance of your hearing aids, ensuring that you are hearing as clearly as possible.
In some cases, a hearing test may reveal that you need to be fitted for new hearing aids. Technology in the field of hearing aids is continually advancing, and newer models often offer improved features and capabilities. By staying up-to-date with your hearing tests, you can explore options for upgrading to more advanced hearing aids that better suit your specific requirements.
Hearing tests can also help identify any underlying conditions that may be affecting your hearing. Certain medical conditions, such as ear infections, tumours, or damage to the inner ear, can lead to hearing loss. By regularly monitoring your hearing health, you can catch any potential issues early on and seek appropriate medical treatment.
8. Keep stress under control
When it comes to our overall well-being, it’s crucial to prioritise the health of our ears. Unfortunately, high levels of stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on our nerves, blood flow, and even body heat, making us more susceptible to tinnitus – that persistent, bothersome ringing in the ears. However, by taking proactive steps to manage stress and anxiety, we can significantly reduce the risk of tinnitus and protect our precious sense of hearing.
1. Practice Stress Management Techniques: Stress is an inevitable part of life, but how we manage it matters. Incorporating stress management techniques into your daily routine can work wonders for your overall well-being. Engage in activities that help you relax and unwind, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or even a simple walk in nature. These practices can help reduce stress hormones in your body, promoting better nerve function and blood flow to your ears.
2. Prioritise Self-Care: Taking care of your physical and mental health is essential in preventing and managing stress and anxiety. Ensure you are getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise. These habits not only contribute to your overall well-being but also help regulate stress levels. When you prioritise self-care, you are better equipped to handle stressful situations, reducing the impact they have on your nerves and blood flow.
3. Engage in Relaxation Techniques: Incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine can have a profound impact on your stress levels. Experiment with different methods such as listening to calming music, engaging in a hobby you enjoy, or indulging in a warm bath or spa treatment. Find what works best for you and make time for it regularly. By allowing yourself moments of relaxation, you can alleviate tension, improve blood flow, and reduce the risk of tinnitus.
By implementing these strategies, you can take significant steps towards managing stress and anxiety, thus reducing the risk of tinnitus and protecting your ears. Remember, prevention is key, and prioritising your mental and physical well-being should always come first. Take the time to care for yourself, and your ears will thank you for it.
9. Keep your ears dry
Excess moisture in the ears can create a favourable environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to various ear infections. The ear canal is a warm and moist area, making it an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Therefore, it is essential to remove any residual moisture from your ears after activities such as swimming or showering.
To drain your ears after being exposed to water, tilt your head to one side. Gently pull on your earlobe and slightly shake your head to encourage the water to come out. You can also use a soft towel or tissue to gently pat the outer part of your ear to aid in the drying process. However, it is crucial to remember not to insert anything into your ear canal, as this can cause damage or push the water further in.
Towel drying your ears after any bathing or swimming is equally important. Take a soft towel and gently pat the outer part of your ears, ensuring that you reach all the crevices. Avoid rubbing the towel vigorously or using any sharp or pointed objects such as cotton swabs to dry your ears, as this can cause irritation or even harm to the delicate structures within the ear.
If you frequently engage in water activities or live in a humid environment, you may consider using earplugs or a swim cap to protect your ears from excessive moisture. These protective measures can help prevent water from entering the ear canal and reduce the risk of bacterial build-up.
It is crucial to pay attention to any signs of discomfort or infection in your ears. If you experience persistent ear pain, itching, discharge, or a feeling of fullness in your ears, it is essential to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can assess your symptoms, diagnose any underlying conditions, and provide appropriate treatment if necessary.
10. Keep on the move
Regular exercise not only benefits our overall health but also plays a significant role in protecting our ears. Incorporating activities such as walking, running, or cycling into our routine can help keep our blood pumping, including to the ears. This increased blood flow is crucial for maintaining the health and proper functioning of our ears.
When we engage in physical activities, our heart rate increases, and blood circulation improves throughout our body, including our ears. This improved blood flow delivers essential nutrients and oxygen to the various parts of the ears, promoting their overall well-being. Additionally, exercise helps to flush out toxins and waste products, which can accumulate in our ears over time.
Regular exercise is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. These conditions can have a negative impact on our ear health, as they can disrupt the proper blood flow to the ears and lead to hearing loss or tinnitus. By maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system through exercise, we can minimise these risks and protect our ears from potential damage.
Exercise can also help prevent or manage certain conditions that can affect our ear health. For instance, regular physical activity can help control diabetes, a condition known to increase the risk of hearing loss. By keeping blood sugar levels in check through exercise, we can reduce the likelihood of developing hearing problems associated with diabetes.
In addition to its direct benefits, exercise indirectly contributes to protecting our ears by promoting overall well-being. Engaging in physical activities can help reduce stress levels, improve sleep quality, and boost our immune system. These factors are crucial for maintaining optimal ear health as stress, lack of sleep, and weakened immune system can all have negative effects on our ears.
Protect your hearing
Should you need any further advice about ways to care for your ears then take a look at our great range of ear protecting equipment. If you think you have hearing loss, then book a hearing test at one of our clinics today.