People nowadays wear earphones like a trend. We listen to music while working. We love listening to our playlist while walking or exercising.
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with that, your exposure to loud sound might damage your hearing. So, protect your ears with these tips shared by Dr. Jose Jose, HEAD and NECK SURGEON, Cosmetic Surgeon, and a Specialist Consultant at Tagaytay Medical Center.
Let’s start with the questions I personally raised to Dr. Jose:
Question: Is it true that traveling, call center works, could cause vertigo due to ear problems?
Answer: Yes, there is an organ in the middle ear called the Semicircular Canals that functions to detect head movements, position, and balance. Traveling at different altitudes (hence different atmospheric pressures) especially when we have colds, can lead to altered air pressure in the middle ear and lead to the malfunction of the Semicircular Canals, and cause dizziness and vertigo. On the other hand, call center work will not cause any ear problems if the equipment used is proper, and guidelines on the use are followed.
Questions: My pediatrician told me that having ear problems is critical to children since it’s near the membrane, could you please enlighten me?
Answer: Children’s eardrums (also known as the Tympanic Membrane) are of course thinner, and anatomically prone to tear or proliferation. Also, children are more prone to excessive pressure buildup inside the middle ear space, especially kids with rhinitis problems or frequent bouts of colds. (Again Via the Eustacean Tube).
Question: Any advice you could give everyone, so we can maintain healthy ears despite our lifestyle?
Answer: 1- cleaning of the ears should only be done once or twice a week only, not daily.
2- do not ignore daily bouts of sneezing, nasal congestion, or colds. This may lead to middle ear problems. Consult an ENT in such cases.
According to Dr. Jates, as we fondly call him, here are the six (6) ways to take care of our ears.
1. Never clean your ears with cotton buds more than twice a week.
– Surprisingly and contrary to what we knew, our ears have a self-cleaning mechanism, that means we don’t need to clean it every day. And this mechanism requires little or no intervention with cleaning. Furthermore, the skin in the ear canal is usually covered by a thin layer of ear wax or Cerumen, Dr. Jose added. As mentioned, this Cerumen serves as an antimicrobial and antifungal, it also protects from dust and foreign objects by trapping them. Cerumen also serves as a moisturizer for the ear canal, preventing it from drying and irritation. Therefore, over cleaning the ear canal may erase this essential layer of wax. He further stated that cotton swabs can actually damage your eardrum, which can lead to hearing loss.
2. Avoid prolonged exposure to loud sound.
– For those working with loud types of machinery, it is the employer’s duty to provide earplugs or earmuffs.
3. Do not use earphones more than 8 hours a day.
– As explained by Dr. Jates, this will cause build up moisture and proliferation of microorganisms inside our ear canal and may cause hearing loss.
4. Consult a doctor for colds that persist for more than 3days
– This is actually true. Dr. Jates reiterated that the colds may travel up the middle ear and cause infection. This is possible via a tube connecting the nose and the ear called the Eustacean Tube.
5. As much as possible, keep the ear canal always dry.
– He said to use cotton buds to dry, not to scrub the ear canal.
6. Avoid prolonged exposure to water, like swimming.
– Do not scrub the ear canal with cotton buds especially after exposure to water, Doc added. I believe this is true as it infected my son’s ear called Otitis Media.
What happens if we ignore these tips?
Dr. Jose enumerated the probable outcome from the least serious to the most serious possibilities.
1. Irritation or itching.
2. From mild ear and facial pain to severe pain. The skin over the ear canal is the only skin in our entire body that has no fat layer, therefore no “cushion” from swelling, making any kind of inflammation possibly excruciating. This inflammation may be caused by excessive cleaning, or also prolonged exposure to water like swimming, and of course infections.
3. Repeated and untreated ear infections may lead to permanent hearing loss, possibly to deafness.
4. A dreaded, life-threatening infection of the bones surrounding the ears called “Mastoiditis” – most usually treated by a major surgical procedure.
5. If Mastoiditis is left untreated, it may lead to permanent paralysis of the face
6. And lastly, untreated infections may spread to the brain, and ultimately lead to death.
Have your ears checked, after all, you’re not only preventing hearing loss but also improving your health!
Dr. Jose Jose is currently a specialist consultant at Tagaytay Medical Center. They also own a clinic in Tagaytay: Bene Sanctuarii Medical. He also received recognitions like the Most Outstanding ENT Consultant of the Year from 2010 to 2014 at Tagaytay Medical Center.
Do you have any tips to share? How often do you clean your ears? Share your answers in the comment section below!