Ear Health - A guide to Hearing Loss

The ear is a delicate structure that only needs a basic hygiene routine in order to maintain its present condition. This is easy to do and doesn’t take that long but can help to ensure that your ears function as normal.

Daily hygiene routine

This should form part of a regular hygiene routine.

Your mother probably reminded you to wash behind your ears and how right she was! Use soap and water to wash the pinnae and behind the ear but avoid getting water inside the ear. If you do get water inside the ear, especially if you are having a shower then tilt your head to one side to allow this to run out.

Use a towel to dry the ears.

Your ears will naturally remove wax from inside so you shouldn’t need to use cotton wool buds or some other similar object. Cotton wool buds are Cotton wool buds are used by many people for this purpose but if they are forcefully pushed into the ear then they may damage the delicate structures within. The other risk is that they end up pushing the wax even deeper into the ears. If you notice a build up of wax then apply a few ear drops or warmed (not HOT) almond oil into the ear in order to soften and dislodge this wax. Be very careful not to burn your ear.

If this doesn’t work or you are reluctant to try it then visit your GP.

Sun exposure

It is important to protect the ears in hot weather by wearing a hat or applying a sunscreen. It is easy to forget this and end up applying sun block to other areas of the body but exclude the ears. But the ears are prone to sunburn like any other part of the body and this can be very painful.

Cold weather

In cold weather or freezing temperatures the ears can become chilled and rather painful. A great deal of heat is lost from the body via the head so wear a woolly hat or wrap a scarf around your ears to prevent earache.

Ear care and piercing

If you have pierced ears then you will have been given instructions on how to care for them. This usually means not removing the earring for a set period of time and ensuring that your hands are clean when you do. Don’t share your earrings with anyone else and if you get an infection then remove the earrings and bathe the infected area with warm water. Use cotton wool tissue or soft gauze to do so. If you develop an allergy to your earrings then remove these and bathe the area as stated above. Then revisit the place which carried out the piercing and ask for an alternative.

Ear infection

If you think you have an ear infection then first of all, keep the ear dry when bathing as water can cause the infection to spread. Take painkillers and rest and the symptoms should ease after a few days. If they don’t or worsen in that time then visit your GP.

If you develop a high fever, experience nausea and vomiting or notice bleeding from the air then see your GP.

If you follow this advice, avoid constant exposure to loud noise and excessive immersion in water then your ears will function normally for a long time.

Other precautions include excessive submersion underwater when swimming or diving; taking care when flying (suck a boiled sweet prior to take-off or landing to prevent your ears from popping) and protecting your ears against loud noise and music.

And if you are currently talking any prescription medicines then check that it doesn’t affect your hearing. Some prescription medicines have this as one of their side effects so discuss this with your GP who may be able to suggest an alternative.

Many of these precautions are discussed in greater detail in our causes of hearing loss section.

However there are some disorders of the ears which occur because of hereditary reasons or getting older which cannot be avoided. If you are worried about these or have a particular concern about your hearing then seek medical advice.


Hearing Loss

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