– Many people take their hearing for granted – until they lose it. Factors like loud noise put your hearing at risk and can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. Even something as minor as ear wax can cause your ears to feel full and reduce your ability to hear common sounds and noises. Even healthy ears need regular "maintenance work" to help them remain problem free.
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One of the most important things you can do for the long-term health of your ears is to protect them from loud noises. Loud noise damages tiny hair cells deep inside your ears that carry sound impulses to your brain. This can lead to hearing loss. Decreased hearing from exposure to noise can occur at any age. It's more common in people who expose their ears to noise over long periods of time. This can come from being around loud machinery, listening to loud music or by sudden exposure to a very loud noise. One way to protect your hearing is to wear earplugs when you're in a noisy situation. Ear plugs help reduce the amount of noise that reaches your ear so your hearing is less likely to be damaged. They're also helpful for reducing background noise when you're trying to sleep or study. Ear plugs are available for adults and for children.
When ear wax builds up inside your ear canals it can cause a feeling of fullness and make it harder to distinguish sounds. Ear wax is one of the most common causes of partial hearing loss. What causes wax buildup? Wax has a useful function – it helps trap debris and bacteria and keeps it from moving deeper into your ears. Some people simply produce too much wax. Wearing ear buds and using cotton swabs to clean your ears canals can also cause wax build up inside your ear canals by pushing the wax deeper into the canals. What can you do? Ear wax removal drops are available without a prescription. They help soften and dissolve thick, stubborn ear wax. Once the ear wax has softened, you can use a soft bulb syringe to flush the ear with warm water to remove any wax that remains.
When you expose your ears to water from swimming or showering, moisture often remains in your ear canals and causes them to feel full. This moisture also increases the risk for a common condition called swimmer's ear. An ear water drying aid helps to remove excess moisture from your ear canals and relieve water-clogged ears.
The Bottom Line
There are a number of products available to help care for and protect your ears but they aren't a substitute for medical care. If you have persistent ear pain, drainage coming from your ears or hearing loss, see your doctor. You may have an ear infection or even a ruptured ear drum that needs medical attention.
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