One of the many organs we are guilty of completely ignoring when it comes to taking care of their health are the ears. Dr Dillon Dsouza, Consultant ENT and Head and Neck surgeon, Jaslok hospital, Breach Candy hospital and Desa’s hospital shares some important tips that will help protect the health of your hearing.

Earwax – Use good quality earwax drops to help clean it. There are many commercially-available drops to soften earwax. You can also visit the ENT doctor for ear syringing.

Hole in the eardrum:  This can result in hearing loss and fluid discharge. You must visit your ENT doctor for various methods of treating and fixing the hole in the drum.

Ear infections or otitis media: This is most common in children, but adults can get it too. You can help prevent upper respiratory infections — and a resulting ear infection — by washing your hands frequently especially before touching your ears. With flu-related ear infections, see a doctor immediately before it becomes more serious.

Medications: Ask your doctor if your medication is ototoxic, or potentially damaging to the ear. Ask if other medications can be used instead. If not, ask if the dosage can be safely reduced. Your doctor should help you get the medication you need while trying to reduce unwanted side effects.

Diet: Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products. Avoid foods known to cause allergies or colds.

Environment: Avoiding inhaled vapours known to cause allergies or colds.

Exercise: 15 minutes brisk walking in the morning and evening with controlled breathing in and out while walking helps clear the airways and reduce infections of the upper respiratory tract.

Lifestyle changes:
Avoiding putting anything in the ear.
Avoiding excessive drinking and smoking.
Avoiding exposure to very loud sounds or explosions.
Use of ear muffs or protectors in very noisy environments.
Have regular cleaning of the ears every six months or as indicated by a medical practitioner.
Keeping other medical conditions like diabetes, blood pressure and upper respiratory tract infections (nose, throat) under control.
Regular eating and sleeping habits and daily exercise for 15 minutes improve immunity and general health and thereby reduces the risk of ear nose and throat infections.

Avoiding noise-induced hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is 100 per cent preventable, and you can take precautions to help avoid this type of hearing loss. The potential damage from noise is caused by the loudness of the sound and the amount of time you are exposed to it. Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can damage your inner ear and cause hearing loss. Sounds from gas lawnmowers, snow blowers, motorcycles, firecrackers, and loud music often are above 85 decibels. Protect your hearing by avoiding noises at or above 85 decibels. When you are involved in a loud activity, wear earplugs or other hearing protective devices. Lower the volume on personal stereo systems and televisions. Be sure to protect children’s ears too. If you experience tinnitus or have trouble hearing after noise exposure, then you have been exposed to too much noise.