Caring for your ears is the first step towards keeping your hearing healthy. While some hearing afflictions are difficult to prepare for such as hearing loss due to allergies, others are completely preventable. From overuse of ear buds to listening to music or video games to over zealous ear cleaning, there are many opportunities to damage your hearing. Follow some simple steps to keep your ears safe and your hearing functional.

Step 1: Keep Ear Bud Use At Reasonable Levels

While hearing loss can be caused by numerous factors, it is clear that listening to music at excessive volume using ear buds will lead, over time, to a loss of hearing. Recent studies of teenagers, a prime demographic of ear bud users, notes that close to 30% of interviewees have some trouble hearing.

Ear bud users often turn up their music to levels that can be heard by others around them. A general rule of thumb is that is too loud. Experts advise that users take breaks from listening and to keep the device set at 60 dB or lower to protect the inner ear. Another option is to use noise-reducing headphones which alleviate the need to over amplify sounds when using the ear buds.

Step 2: Do Not Put Your Elbow Into Your Ear!

The old axiom holds true. Digging around in your ear with a cotton tip is not necessary to keep your ears clean. Ear wax is a natural body product produced to keep the ear safe. It can be cleaned out of the ear once it migrates outside the ear canal.

Step 3: Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear emerges when bacteria gets into the ear and starts an infection. While swimmer’s ear is hard to protect against, experts recommend making sure your ears are clean prior to swimming. Hearing loss from ear infections is a possibility, so be careful and protect your hearing after you engage in swimming activities.

Step 4: Limited Ear Piercings

Piercing the ear lobe is okay, but as piercings move up the ear, they encounter more cartilage. These areas, unlike the lobe, have poor blood supply and, therefore, are subject more serious infections. Additionally, piercings up the curve of the ear tend to dissuade people from using sunscreen on their ears which are actually very sensitive to sun and need to be protected.

Step 5: Prepare For Air Travel

Pressure equalization is an important factor to consider when flying. Barotis, or the failure for pressures to equalize in the ears, leads to pain, bleeding, and even perforation of the eardrum. Techniques to move the pressure include yawning, swallowing, and chewing gun. Young kids can use their pacifiers or sip water.

Follow these steps to ensure your ears are cared for and that your hearing is not prematurely damaged. Check Mainland’s special Hearing Protective Devices- sleepers, musician plugs and swim molds.