Cop an Earful of This: Maintaining Your Auditory Health

Your hearing is one of your main senses. Many of us will take it for granted. But it is so important that we keep on top of our auditory health. Just like every other part of the human body, there are endless illnesses and diseases that can affect our ears. Inner ear infections like otitis media, outer ear infections like swimmer’s ear (or otitis exterior), excess wax build up, tinnitus cholesteatoma and autoimmune ear disease are just a few conditions that prove detrimental to numerous individuals’ health every year. That’s not to mention injuries such as perforated ear drums. So how do we take effective care of our ears? Here are a few tips and tricks.

Certain minerals and vitamins aid your auditory health

What you eat can affect your ear health. Zinc, magnesium… (Pixabay image, CC0 Public Domain)

Diet

You might be surprised to know that your diet can have a profound effect on your ear health and overall hearing ability. In particular, try to ensure you consume sufficient levels of these five different minerals and vitamins within your diet: Magnesium, Potassium, Folic Acid, Vitamin E and Zinc.

Magnesium helps to protect the delicate hairs inside your inner ears. You may not have known that these even exist, but they are essential in the process of detecting sound frequencies (or varying pitches). Potassium is necessary for the production of fluid in the inner ear which translates sound waves into electrical impulses which can be processed by the brain. Folic Acid helps in the production of new cells and promotion of good blood circulation, while Vitamin E protects the body from free radicals and other harmful toxins. Last but not least, Zinc helps to dissipate chronic ear infections.

Hearing Tests

Regular hearing tests provide you with a routine appointment during which a qualified specialist can test your hearing ability and examine the overall health of your ear. Children will generally have hearing tests carried out as part of their routine health checks. As an adult, you should book in for one as soon as you notice any significant changes to your hearing ability. A test can help you to seek out the right support and treatment for any potential condition. So, if you haven’t been checked out in a while, get your hearing tested! There are no painful aspects involved in the procedure, so there’s no reason to wait.

Cleaning your ears properly

Are you using a Q-Tip correctly? If not, ear damage may result. By Aney (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0}, via Wikimedia Commons.

Hygiene

It is important that you clean your ears regularly. However, ear cleaning can often end in injury or further problems if not conducted in the right way. There are three main points to remember when cleaning your ears.

Firstly, ear wax will generally work its way out of your ear naturally. Secondly, you should only ever use cotton buds (or Q-tips) on the outside of your ear, never inserting one directly into the canal. Finally, there are earwax softeners available, which will help you in the process of cleaning your ears without compromising your health. If you find that you suffer from compaction (physical pain or hearing problems caused by a buildup of excess earwax), seek help from your GP. They can use special instruments to help clear your ear canal.

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60 thoughts on “Cop an Earful of This: Maintaining Your Auditory Health

  1. Hi Christy…
    Excellent post and I can still hear my mother telling me as a child I could grow carrots in my ears. Over exaggerated of course but yes hearing is essential. Over the years working around heavy equipment and blasting I have been fortunate to have very sensitive hearing. Many great suggestions here in your post.

        • Oh George, I had laser surgery too. My eyes regressed since then, hence wearing glasses again. I’m glad you had more success. Hopefully your hayfever isn’t too bad today (and may the spiders be gone!)

        • So long as I walk the shoreline it’s OK. When I don’t my eyes just water and people ask if there’s been a death in the family – a thing that usually makes me laugh! A shame your eye surgery didn’t work.

  2. Terrific post, Christy. I’ve been experiencing some tinnitus, so I think it’s time to up the mag and folic acid. I imagine most people don’t know half of what you’ve covered here. Sharing to help remedy that 🙂 ♥

  3. Great post, Christy – maintaining our ability to hear well is an Important thing to think about – and so few of us do until we notice that we are having trouble with it.

    A study – years ago now by researchers at the Univ. of Tennessee, postulated that perhaps the *biggest* threat to hearing health was LOUD MUSIC. It damages the cilia inside the ear – that’s how we hear, and they don’t regenerate.

    So turning down the sound on our devices and wearing drugstore earplugs in environments where the music is LOUD (along with not sitting directly in front of the speakers) – are some of the most effective preventatives we can employ. You can still hear the music just fine, btw, unless your hearing is *already* damaged.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    • Alas I agree with the loud music bit… I listened​ to music in headphones when I was a teenager (not in public, I’m not that inconsiderate) and have tinitis now which my doctor says is not reversible 😦 Try telling anyone organising a concert to have the music at a deafening volume though…

      • My dad had the exact same thing happen to him, Andrea. I gave him a sound machine to help at night when he’s trying to fall asleep.. Sadly it didn’t work for him..

    • Hi Madelyn, this is great advice. I’m a fan of dancing so I’m sometimes in environments with very loud music. I’ll stay far from the speakers whenever possible xx

      • I love to dance as well – and the music is almost always loud in dance clubs, where earplugs would be a big nuisance. I do keep them in my purse for concerts, however.

        I have a few boomer buddies who are already experiencing hearing loss from earlier exposure, so I’m very grateful that I was at UT when this study came out and have been careful throughout most of my life. (It’s since been replicated, btw)
        xx,
        mgh

        • I was at a lunchtime concert yesterday, Madelyn, and noticed a young child (roughly 1 or 2) wearing headphones. I was happy as their ears don’t deserve that beating of loud music. Like your friends, my dad has hearing loss from the days when he was enjoying loud music. I always am thankful for your visits and hope you know that ❤

  4. Great tips for sure, Christy. A healthy diet is really one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves. I am pretty good about it, but I have to discard those two sugar cookies I just ate, ha ha! As a substitute teacher, I’m always harping at kiddos for having their earbud volume turned up way too loud!

  5. Nice one, CB… Good tips as to ears care too… I had an issue years ago, which turned out to be a sort of ear infection. Awful… I could feel suddenly dizzy, not to mention that I continuously listen a sort of subtle hum. I would have never guessed the cause, anyway. Thank for sharing!. Sending love! 😀 ⭐

  6. Great info, Christy. I go to my ENT doc twice a year to check and clear my ears before I travel. I have BPV and sometimes the doctor has to do Epley Maneuvers to correct the crystals. Ugh! Not pleasant! 😬

    • Glad to hear the tips here are ones that you’ve found useful, John, but sorry to hear of your ear issues… I want you to still be enjoying those tunes you like ~ Including Jan and Dean 😉

  7. Another important post here Christy. I’m glad you emphasized not to stick those Qtips in the ear, so dangerous and also pushes the wax further down. Some people are prone to accumulating ear wax and as you said, using oil based softeners are a good idea once or twice a week. Hard wax can give a plugged ear effect that must be cleared up at a doctor’s office to prevent ear drum damage. 🙂 ❤

  8. Years ago I got a q-tip stuck in my ear and had to go to a walk-in clinic to get it removed. Embarrassing at the time but I learned my lesson.

    Thank you for addressing nutrition when it comes to ear health.

  9. Pingback: Eye Spy: Easy Ways to Protect Your Eyes | When Women Inspire

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