Top Tips For Looking After Your Ears Your hearing and your ears are precious and easily damaged. Take better care of them by following these tips:
Never poke anything into your ear – including cotton buds.
The lining of the ear is delicate and can be easily damaged. The ear is also self cleaning and earwax is needed to protect the ear from dirt and dust. If you use a cotton bud you may find some wax is on the cotton bud, but the majority will be pushed into the ear canal. This means it can become harder to remove. Trying to clean your ears in this way can also increase the production of earwax.
Wash the visible part of the ear (the pinna) and behind the ear with slightly soapy fingers. Then wipe the soap away with rinsed fingers and dry with a thin towel.
If you have problem ears keep them dry because bacteria like a moist environment!
This is particularly important if you have a perforated eardrum or are prone to outer ear infections (otitis externa). When showering or hair washing, use a piece of cotton wool coated with vaseline and fill the outer part of the ear (the concha). Research comparing earplugs and cotton wool with Vaseline found cotton wool to be the most effective at keeping out water. This was also the preferred method.
Use one drop/spray of olive oil inserted into each ear once a week if you have dry, itchy ears.
This is to lubricate both the skin of the ear canal and the earwax, encouraging natural movement of the wax out of the ear. Olive oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and contains vitamin E which helps to heal skin. One of Deafness Research UK’s advisors has found that this is of benefit for people with dry skin, also helping earwax to become softer.
If you are using olive oil, an olive oil spray may be easier to use and be more effective.
Using a dropper can mean too much oil is used, this can block up the ear affecting hearing. In the same way it is only recommended to use olive oil or other wax softening drops for a few nights prior to removal.
Don’t immerse your ears in bath water.
Body bacteria may enter your ear canal and could cause an infection through water getting trapped behind the earwax.
If your hearing is affected by catarrh try inhaling the steam from a cup of tea.
Research by an ENT consultant into the decongestant property of the tannin in tea leaves has shown that putting hot water on a tea bag and sniffing the steam from this morning and night (being careful not to burn your nose), then blowing your nose resolves mucus congestion and helps hearing recover. It is best to continue this for about 5 weeks.
Avoid the common problem of ear pain when flying by swallowing frequently or yawning as an aeroplane descends.
This will open the tube which goes from the back of your nose to your middle ear space and allow air in so that there is the same pressure in both the outer ear canal and the middle ear space. This procedure can be more effective if the nose is pinched prior to swallowing. A suggestion for parents with babies or toddlers is to cuddle one ear to the mother’s chest and cover the other ear with a disposable beaker, or alternatively use two beakers.
Don’t ignore an ear problem.
It won’t improve without proper treatment and the longer an ear problem is neglected, the longer it may take to treat.
If you suspect your hearing is not what it used to be consult your doctor.
A doctor can check your ears for wax build up or ear infections and refer you for a hearing test.