Take Care of Your Ears

April 2, 2014 8:04 pm

goodearhealthMany things change as we age; the human body was not designed to last forever, and we are all well aware that the better we take care of our body now the more miles we will get out of it. This philosophy of being proactive is especially important when it comes to ears. Why? Because most changes that occur in the ear are permanent. Here are things you can do now to keep your ears up to the task they were designed to do: hear.

  1. Protection, protection, protection Noise Induced Hearing Loss is 100% preventable. Turn down the iPod or radio. Wear protection at concerts or when using loud equipment, like a lawn mower. If you have to shout to be heard, the environment is too loud. Move away from the noise source or use something to cover the ear protect the cochlea, the sensory organ of hearing.
  2. Vaccinate Preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough have the potential to cause hearing loss. Avoid the chance by making sure vaccinations are current for yourself and family members.
  3. Exercise Recent studies indicate people who partake in regular aerobic exercise have better hearing that those that are more sedentary, even if they listen to music while they do so. A healthy blood supply to all parts of the body, including the cochlea, is essential to the inner workings of this organ of hearing.
  4. Eat right A diet rich in vitamins A, C, folic acid, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in protecting certain structures in the inner ear.
  5. Avoid head injuries Trauma to the head may impact the middle or inner part of the ear and cause hearing loss. Wear a helmet when needed, wear a seatbelt in a car and seek medical attention when there is concern of a concussion. The cochlea is housed in the skull and generally pretty well protected, but is vulnerable to injury when head trauma occurs.
  6. Stay up to date on hearing tests If you’ve never had it checked, schedule a baseline test. If you have an existing hearing loss and wear hearing instruments, make sure the prescription is current. It is theorized that by maintaining an adequate level of hearing and keeping the auditory neural pathways ‘busy’, further hearing loss may be slowed down.
  7. Don’t smoke Or take in second hand smoke. Any habit or activity that constricts blood flow has the potential to damage the cochlea which depends on an oxygen rich blood supply.
  8. Don’t stick things in your ears! If you are worried about ear wax or have severe itching in the ear canal, seek medical help. Things like cotton swabs, bobby pins and paper clips have been known to damage the lining of the ear canal and/or the ear drum.
  9. Check your medicine cabinet Certain medications may cause hearing loss. Discuss both over the counter and prescriptive medicines with your PCP or pharmacist. If an ototoxic medication is necessary, make sure your hearing is monitored during the course of treatment.
  10. Have your ears checked if there is any pain or discharge These may be symptoms of an infection in the ear canal or middle ear. A side effect may be temporary hearing loss, which is especially detrimental to children of all ages.

Author: Sarah Klimasewski, Au.D.
Community Outreach Coordinator at Hart Hearing Centers

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