With so many different aspects of your health to maintain and properly take care of, you may often overlook your ears. As the provider of your hearing, your ears play an essential role in your overall wellbeing, so it's critical to ensure they receive great care and attention. Cleaning your ears properly, protecting your hearing and promoting great ear health with supplements are several things that can impact the overall condition of your ears and their hearing abilities. Read on to learn more about how to keep your ears in great shape.
1. Know how to properly clean them.
If you're like many people, when you first catch a glimpse of wax peaking out of your ears, you get immediately grossed out and scramble for the Q-tips to clean it out. This is a bad idea for multiple reasons. First, Q-tips can be highly damaging to your ear canal and eardrum, puncturing, scraping or causing them to bleed. In addition, what you think is helping to clean your ears may be making the situation worse, potentially pushing the wax farther back into your ears and causing an impaction and even temporary hearing impairment. Earwax serves a very specific purpose of self-cleaning, lubricating and protecting your inner ears from potentially harmful bacteria and foreign substances that may make their way into your ear canals. If you notice wax making its way out of your ear, use a warm washcloth to gently remove the wax; if you have a severe build-up of wax and feel like your ears are clogged, make a trip to your doctor to have them safely remove the wax. One of the most common methods of doctor's office wax removal is typically through an ear lavage, where your ears are flushed with warm water or saline until the wax falls out.
2. Protect your hearing.
Your hearing is one of your most important senses that can be easily damaged by outside influences, like loud noises. Hearing is often one of senses that fades the quickest as you age, so it's crucial to do what you can now to maintain excellent hearing in order to prevent it from failing you later on. One of the most basic yet not-often-adhered-to ways of protecting your hearing is by simply turning down the volume and not blowing out your ears with loud, intense sounds. When listening to music, keep the volume at a comfortable level; this means if someone can hear the music you're listening to through your ear buds, the volume is too loud. When you're in any situation where there's going to be intense sounds, use proper ear protection, like earplugs when at a concert or other ear-protecting gear when you're using power tools.
3. Try supplements to prevent hearing loss.
Certain supplements may provide protection and support for the longevity and condition of your hearing. Two studies from the University of Florida
suggest that the combination of supplemental beta carotene
, vitamins C
may provide positive effects in preventing temporary and permanent hearing loss. The study was conducted on test animals that were given the mixture of supplements before being exposed to 110-decibel noise for a period of four hours. The animals' hearing was later measured by sound-evoked neural activity, and it demonstrated that the supplemental treatment successfully prevented temporary noise-induced hearing loss. In addition, the second study illustrated the prevention of permanent, single-noise-induced hearing loss with the same mixture of supplements. The antioxidant vitamins in this supplement mixture, beta carotene and vitamins C and E, may be able to reduce the prevalence of hearing-damaging free radicals that can puncture the membranes of healthy ear cells, which can contribute to hearing loss; Magnesium contributes to healthy blood flow and may help speed up healing. In addition to the supplements in these studies, there are other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
that may be able to provide support in defending you from hearing loss.
4. Have regular ear checkups.
The next time you visit your doctor, make sure you make it a point to have your ears checked out, especially if you are experiencing problems with your hearing, at which point you may be referred to an audiologist. However, it is also important for your doctor to examine the physical appearance of your ears, checking for any lumps, scaly patches or other signs of potentially serious health conditions. Signs of skin cancer can often hide on your ears, where they may be hidden by your hair or simply unnoticed, as many people typically don't thoroughly examine their ears on a regular basis. Your doctor can also help safely remove any wax blockage, treat infections and help with any other ear-related issues you may have.
5. Know the signs of infection.
Ear infections often occur in children more frequently than adults, so it is critical for you to be aware if your children are experiencing signs of infections. During an ear infection, the middle ear becomes inflamed and fluid often builds up due to the presence of bacteria or a virus, causing pain and irritation. Symptoms of ear infections in kids may manifest through a fever, headache
, drainage of fluid in the ear, difficulty in responding to sounds and tugging at their ears, according to the Mayo Clinic
. Ear infections in adults often show themselves through ear pain, ear drainage and even a temporary loss of hearing. In a couple of days, symptoms of ear infections typically get better on their own, but sometimes infections may require treatment, like antibiotics or ear drops. In the case of severe, untreated ear infections, permanent hearing loss may occur and even a tearing of the eardrum or spread of infection to other areas of the body. If you or your child are experiencing signs of ear infection, it's best to visit your doctor to get checked out.
Maintaining the health of your ears is critical in having excellent overall health. Make sure you know the proper ways to care for your ears through cleaning, taking hearing-supporting supplements and protecting your hearing from outside factors like loud noises. If you exhibit signs of ear infection, hearing loss or notice a change in appearance or superficial marks, talk to your doctor.
Check out eVitamins today for a variety of supplements to encourage healthy ears and hearing, and come back tomorrow for more healthy living tips!