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.
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.
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.
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.