Healthy Ears

Summer is the season for traveling, swimming, and enjoying festivities. Whether you are flying to see family or explore Europe, jumping in the neighbor’s pool or swimming with dolphins, or watching a huge fireworks show, your ears need protection. In any season, exposure to excessive noise can damage hearing in higher pitches. Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent, but it is preventable.

In your middle ear, three small bones transfer sound vibrations to the inner ear. They then transform to nerve impulses that the brain recognizes as sound. Loud noise damages the cells in the inner ear; as these nerves endings decrease, so does hearing. This damage, and resultant loss of hearing, is irreversible and permanent. It is prudent to curb this type of hearing loss with the use of hearing protection devices.

Earplugs are an inexpensive and convenient way to protect your hearing if you are exposed to loud festival noises, such as music or fireworks. Even generic earplugs are useful, though you can get ones custom-fitted to your own ears. However, remember that ear bugs, used for listening to music, are not noise reduction devices. In fact, listening to loud music via ear buds increases your own risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

In addition to ear protection, there are other issues to consider with your ears, especially during summer. For example, many folks enjoying water sports, suffer from swimmer’s ear, a painful membrane swelling caused by trapped moisture in the outer ear. Swimmers are encouraged to use quality swimming ear plugs to avoid ear infections. Also, avoid, using cotton-tipped swabs to unblock your ears; swabs are often used improperly, resulting in wax being pushed into the ear, causing pain or damage.

If traveling by air this summer, you may experience discomfort in your ears, especially when landing. When your ears feel plugged, try yawning, swallowing, or chewing gum. This discomfort is rarely long-lasting.

Summer fun is best enjoyed with healthy hearing! Follow the guidelines above to keep your ears and hearing happy for all seasons.

Source: Science Daily