10 Tips for Healthy Ears

Author thumbnail Kirsten Ellis  |  Published 29 August 2023  | Updated 16 May 2024  | 5 mins read

A woman is gardening in a greenhouse.

We all know how to keep ourselves healthy – living an active and balanced lifestyle. But, have you ever stopped to think about your ears? Maintaining good ear health plays a vital role in preserving our hearing for years to come.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our top ten tips for healthy ears!

1. Turn the volume down

If, like many of us, you listen to your music through headphones or earphones, then you should follow the 60/60 rule. That’s listening to music for a maximum of 60 minutes at a maximum volume of 60%. It’s important to give our ears a rest after prolonged exposure to sound, especially when using headphones as exposure to loud sounds contributes to noise-induced hearing loss later in life. The quieter you can listen to your music, the better it is for your ears!

Wearing earphones can also contribute to ear wax build-up, as they prevent the ears’ natural cleaning cycle, meaning that ear wax that would naturally shed may get stuck in the ear. 

Custom ear plugs.

2. Wear hearing protection

Any noises over 85dB can cause permanent damage to our hearing if exposed to them for a substantial period of time. And the louder the noise, the shorter the safe exposure time is, which is why we recommend hearing protection.

Hearing protection can be used for all manners of activities, from sports and motorsports to work and even live music events. There are various types of hearing protection available, with custom moulded options providing the very best level of protection. 

Find out more about our hearing protection consultations

3. Maintain good ear hygiene

Just like the rest of our bodies, we also need to keep our ears clean. Gently use a damp flannel to clean around the outside of your ear, including around any piercings. DO NOT cotton buds to clean the inside of your ears. While it may seem tempting, cotton buds can often cause more harm than good. 

 4. Don’t poke around in there!

Our ears are sensitive and contain delicate components which help us hear, so it’s important that we don’t do anything to compromise them – that includes not putting anything in your ears that shouldn’t be! Avoid using any online gadgets to dig around in your ears or attempt to remove ear wax yourself. If you think there is something wrong then seek professional assistance. 

A man wearing a wetsuit and putting on a swim cap.

5. Wear custom water protection

Whether you’re a regular swimmer, or just like the occasional dip in the pool, you may be at risk of developing swimmer’s ear. Also known as otitis externa, swimmer’s ear is an infection often caused by water in the ear. This is why we recommend hearing protection such as custom swimming ear plugs to keep your ears dry and free from bacteria.

6. Apply sunscreen to your ears

When you are out in the sun, don’t forget to put sunscreen on your ears as well as the rest of your face and body. Make sure you cover your ear lobe, the top of the ear and behind your ear, avoiding any in the ear canal. If you notice any bumps or changes in skin texture around your ears, speak to your GP.

7. Managing and reducing stress

Some days you really can’t avoid it, but stress can have an impact on our hearing. Not only does stress exacerbate symptoms of tinnitus, but it can affect the delicate blood vessels in our ears, potentially causing long term impacts on our hearing health. Although it’s easier said than done, the best way to alleviate this is by managing your stress levels.

An old man holding his ear and appearing to be in pain.

8. Watch out for wax

Ear wax is produced as our ear’s natural defence system – capturing bacteria and debris that might enter our ear canal and removing it as the wax naturally makes its way out of the ear canal. However, sometimes our ear wax builds up to levels that need addressing, potentially leaving our ears feeling blocked, temporary hearing loss and earache. Should you notice any of these symptoms then it’s important that you seek the help of a qualified Wax Removal Clinician or Audiologist who will be able to safely remove your ear wax.

9. Recognise the warning signs of hearing loss

Hearing loss often goes unnoticed until the symptoms worsen. However, the earlier a loss is spotted, the more we can do to support your hearing. This is why knowing the signs of hearing loss, and what to look out for in yourself as well as your loved ones, is so important. 

Find out the signs of hearing loss.

10. Make sure to have regular hearing checks

Just as we do with our eyes, we recommend regular hearing checks to monitor your hearing levels every one to two years. Regular hearing tests can help maintain healthy hearing and catch any irregularities early on to prevent further decline. Hearing checks are especially important for those over 50 as the risk of hearing loss rises to 40%, increasing again to 70% as you reach your seventies.

So, if you feel there is a problem with your hearing or would just like to grips with your hearing health, The Hearing Care Partnership is here and ready to help you! 

To book your FREE hearing assessment, simply call us on 0800 52 00 546, find your nearest practice, or book an appointment online.