Ear Health: Ditch These Unhealthy Habits To Prevent Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can occur with aging but by being mindful, you can ensure better listening in the long run. Here are some mistakes you must avoid for better ear health.
Consult a doctor if you are experiencing constant ear pain
- Cleaning your ear with finger can lead to infections
- See your doctor if you are experiencing any discomfort
- Do not listen to loud music for prolonged period
The increased dependency on digital devices and audio gadgets affects one's health in several ways. According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss from excessive use of audio gadgets. The severity of damage escalates further when youngsters ignore warning signals such as frequently asking questions, obscure understanding of what others are saying, difficulty in hearing on phone, increasing television volume than normal levels, hard time hearing environmental sounds such as the chirping of birds, exhaustion from conversations, lip-reading, tingling noise within ears or head, among others.
Here are a few habits you should ditch for healthy hearing
1. Blasting through earphones: Listening to loud music for a long time is a major cause of hearing loss in youngsters. Also, exchanging earphones among friends and not cleaning them increase the risks of ear infections. Constantly hearing loud music on earphones also decreases the sense of focus among users. However, if using earphones is completely unavoidable then it is advised to follow the 60/60 rule which simply means listening with headphones not more than 60% volume for not more than 60 minutes a day. Use a noise cancellation head phone, which helps you to reduce the volume without compromising the quality of hearing.
Rule of thumb: If a person is speaking to you and you cannot hear the person while listening to music head phones, you are headphone volume is already too loud. If you are able to have a normal conversation while listening to music in head phones, you are at a comfortable volume.
2. Sticking finger or inserting objects in the ear: Sticking fingers in ears or inserting other objects brings the risk of rupturing the eardrum, cutting of ear canal, or forcing wax back into the inner ear. Nails carry a lot of microscopic bacteria which can cause infections. If someone is diabetic or pre-diabetic, then there are greater risks of such infections and also, they have more itching. Some people are habitual of scratching ears using paperclips or pen caps and such habits should be corrected immediately to prevent damages. Do not put mustard oil, edible oils or homemade preps to clean ears as they promote infection.
3. Using cotton swabs for cleaning ears: Cotton swabs can push large blobs of wax inside and block ears and they aren't supposed to go deep inside the ears as they can rupture eardrums leading to hearing loss. Earwax by nature is self-cleaning and doesn't require additional attention. If you have a build-up of earwax that is blocking hearing, it is better to consult a doctor. Using over the counter wax solvents can help to clear off mild waxes.
4. Not consulting a doctor on ear pain or hearing loss: If you experience hearing loss, constant noise in the ears or head then seeks immediate medical advice. Sudden buzzing in ears, loosing of clarity of hearing and sensation of ear block are subtle signs of hearing loss which should not be taken lightly. Chronic illnesses, underlying health conditions, medications can also contribute to hearing loss. Take medications only as directed, and consult your doctor if you develop any problems without any delay.
Also read: 6 Simple Home Remedies For Ear Infections
Hearing loss can occur with aging but by being mindful, you can ensure better listening in the long run. An easy way to assess hearing loss is to download app in mobile phone for hearing assessment and do basic screening test. Though it's not accurate as professional hearing test but it can detect hearing loss and help you to seek early medical advice from an Ear nose throat specialist.
(Dr. Shashidhar TB, Head - Surgery (ENT), Artemis Hospitals, Gurugram)
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