Your ears are vital components of your overall health and well-being. They not only make it possible to hear sounds, but they regulate balance. You must take good care of them and recognize when something is wrong. The best information source is a professional hearing care provider. Know what to ask, when to see a doctor, and how to keep your ears healthy. Here are five questions to ask the professional:
How Do You Clean the Ears?
Should you use cotton swabs to clean your ears is a question many ask. Note that the ears have a natural cleaning system. When you chew or talk, the earwax moves up the ear canal to the outer ear, where it’s wiped away. It means you don’t need to use cotton swabs to clean them.
Cotton swabs plunge the wax in and can cause damage to the eardrums. You can also accidentally puncture the inner ear. An accumulation of wax in the canal leads to infections, reduced hearing, and earaches.
How Do You Detect the Initial Stages of Hearing Loss?
It’s not always possible to detect hearing loss in the initial stages, as the signs are very subtle. You may only make the connection that your hearing is declining once it becomes more pronounced. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include:
- Difficulty hearing conversations in noisy areas, like restaurants or large gatherings
- Asking people to repeat themselves frequently
- Having trouble understanding conversations in the background noise
- Turning up the television or radio volume too high
- Difficulty hearing on the telephone
- Feeling like people are mumbling
- Frequently mistaking words or sounds
A hearing test is the best way to determine the issue. A certified audiologist will administer this test. You’ll also know the magnitude or severity, whether mild, moderate, or severe. You may be prescribed a hearing aid or other assistive device if the results demonstrate hearing loss. Depending on the level of impairment, they may also suggest certain lifestyle modifications, including avoiding noisy places or using alerting devices.
How Do You Protect Your Hearing?
Protecting your hearing and ears prevents permanent damage. Start by having a yearly hearing test. Avoid loud noises, wear ear protection when necessary, and take breaks from noisy environments. Find out if specific medications can cause hearing loss or tinnitus.
Can Hearing Loss Be a Symptom of a Medical Condition?
Yes, hearing loss can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Certain illnesses like meningitis, chicken pox, and mumps cause hearing loss. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders affect hearing. If you suspect a condition is causing hearing loss, consult a physician.
Is Hearing Loss Permanent?
Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. An infection, trauma, or obstruction in the ear canal usually causes temporary hearing loss. Permanent loss is generally caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises, aging, or certain genetic conditions. Treatment options vary depending on the cause. Hearing aids, surgery, and implants improve hearing if the cause of the impairment is treatable. If not, lifestyle changes help.
If you start experiencing any changes in hearing, contact your doctor immediately. Early intervention and treatment prevent permanent damage. Additionally, discuss any symptoms or concerns you have. If the professional prescribes a hearing aid, follow all instructions, clean and maintain the device properly.