When it comes to your health, your ears are typically an afterthought. However, your ears are not only one of your five senses but the inner ear can also have significant impacts on your ability to maintain communication, education and social interactions.
All of this is why Anita Jeyakumar, MD, an otologist with Mercy Health – Youngstown, says it’s essential to prioritize your ears.
“Prioritizing hearing health with regular hearing checks along with noise protection are an important part of maintaining ear wellness,” Dr. Jeyakumar shares.
Taking care of your ears helps protect you from suffering hearing loss. Hearing loss can often go unnoticed without paying close attention, particularly in children. So, it is important to be mindful of changes in hearing and follow up with your health care provider if you notice anything. Some hearing loss can be treated, even reversed. However, without an assessment and open discussion, these options may not be attainable.
“Permanent hearing loss in humans is often known as sensorineural or ‘nerve’ hearing loss,” Dr. Jeyakumar explains. “This affects all ages, from babies to adults. With modern-day advances, most kinds of hearing loss have some treatment options.”
Activities such as attending concerts and shooting firearms have the type of loud noises that can cause damage to your ears if you do not properly protect them. For some people, the workplace can be very loud and noisy, which is why employers are typically required to have a noise conservation program for noise levels that are beyond a certain threshold.
“The continued importance of maintaining hearing precautions cannot be over-emphasized,” Dr. Jeyakumar continues. “Once a patient develops permanent hearing loss, it most times cannot be restored. Typically, once it is gone it’s gone, and we are reliant on technology to give us access to education and social tools for communication.”
Other activities, even those you think may be keeping your ears healthy, can cause unwanted damage to the ear. Social media has recently contributed to multiple fads for cleaning ears. Things such as ear cameras and wax candles have gone viral due to their satisfying nature. Dr. Jeyakumar advises against the use of these products to clean your ears. While ear wax, known as cerumen, can cause reversible hearing loss, fad ear cleaning has the potential to cause permanent damage to the delicate structures in the ear.
“Ear wax is not quite the enemy it has been made out to be,” she says. “Some ear wax is necessary for healthy ears. However, if there is excessive build up, cleaning by trained professionals is the safest way to get the wax removed without causing damage to delicate ear structures.”
Visit our website to learn more about ear health and find a provider who can help address any issues you may be having.