Summer Fun and How We Hear

Whether you spend your summer exploring swimming holes, going to music festivals, watching fireworks, or flying for a family vacation, your ear and hearing health might be at risk. Exposure to excessive noise can damage hearing as can improper ear care. Since noise-induced hearing loss is permanent, it is advised to consider using hearing protection devices. Additionally, a few minor ear care tips can help alleviate discomfort as well as protect your hearing.

First, we need to understand how we hear and how hearing loss comes about. In your middle ear, three small bones transfer sound vibrations to the inner ear, transforming to nerve impulses that are recognized as sound. Loud noise damages the cells in the inner ear; this damage reduces the nerve endings, resulting in hearing loss. This damage, and resultant loss of hearing, is irreversible and permanent, but can be curbed with the use of earplugs.

Convenient and inexpensive, earplugs are an excellent option to protect your hearing. Even generic earplugs are useful, though you can get ones custom-fitted to your own ears. Some persons equate ear bugs, used for listing to music, as ear plugs. This is not the case. Using ear buds to listen to music as a way to block other sounds actually increases your own risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

While loud music and fireworks are a great risk, there are other summer issues to consider regarding ear health. For example, many folks enjoy water sports, but suffer from swimmer’s ear. Swimmers are encouraged to use quality swimming ear plugs to avoid ear infections. You can also drain your ear by tilting the head to each side and gently wiping the outer ear with a towel Avoid using cotton-tipped swabs to dry or unblock your ears; improper use can cause pain or damage.

Summer offers fun for folks of all ages. The risks to your own hearing are real, no matter what your summer entails. Pay attention to your ear care and relish in the sounds of all the seasons.

Source: Science Daily