Your ears contain the smallest bones in your body and are yet responsible for so much. Not only do they help transmit sound, but they also help to maintain your balance and are self-cleaning. Every day, we perform different activities that can potentially harm our ears in the long run — pumping up our spirits on the way to work with loud music, swimming as a workout, using Q-tips to clean the ears, etc. Protect your hearing by consciously keeping in mind these nine actions daily, courtesy of ENT specialists, Dr Tarek Sallam, Medcare Medical Centre and Dr Harbir Hundal, Dubai London Clinic:
Concerts, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and other noises that force you to shout to be heard, create dangerous levels of sound. Use earplugs, that reduce sound-related health risks. Your ears are sensitive and sounds over 85 decibels can permanently impair your hearing. If you’re vulnerable to noisy surroundings habitually wear earplugs.
TURN IT DOWN
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1.1 billion young adults face the risk of hearing loss due to exposure to unsafe levels of sound. Headphone users should follow the 60/60 rule, which means listening to music for no more than 60 minutes a day, at a volume that is no louder than 60 per cent. Earbuds are especially dangerous as they fit directly next to your eardrum. It’s better to use over-the-ear headphones instead.
MAKE TIME FOR RECOVERY
If you are exposed to loud noises for prolonged periods, the best way to give your ears time to recover is by going to a quieter area for a few minutes.
AVOID USING Q-TIPS
Never use Q-tips to clean out earwax, as they cause pain and hearing loss by pushing wax deeper into the ear canal. A solution is to seek professional treatment if you have excessive wax build-up.
TAKE PRESCRIBED MEDS ONLY
Certain medications can contribute to hearing loss so it is important to discuss your medical prescriptions with your doctor and to only take them when needed.
KEEP YOUR EARS DRY
Excess moisture caused as a result of bathing or swimming can allow bacteria to enter and attack your ear canal, which can cause various ear infections. To avoid this, towel dry your ears after swimming and bathing.
GET UP AND MOVE
Did you know that exercise is good for your ears? It’s true. Regular exercise not only helps the internal ear stay healthy but also keeps them working at their maximum potential.
Take time for yourself and relax. Both excessive stress and anxiety have been linked to temporary and permanent tinnitus (a phantom ringing in the ears).
GET EARS CHECKED
Ask your primary care physician to incorporate hearing screenings into your annual checkups, especially as hearing loss develops gradually. Book annual hearing consultations, which will foster early detection and treatment.