Though it may feel like summer just began, the reality is we are close to halfway through. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy your favorite summer activities; just be sure you don’t do so at the expense of the health of your ears.
Protect Yourself Against Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear is a painful infection of the ear canal that is caused by water becoming trapped after swimming, leading to bacterial growth. You can also develop swimmer’s ear as a result of putting fingers, cotton swabs and other objects in the ears, as this can damage the thin layer of skin that lines the ear canal.
Symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:
- Redness of the ear canal
- Itchiness in the ear canal
- Discomfort or pain in the ears
- Fluid drainage
- Feeling of fullness in the ear
- Muffled hearing
Fortunately, swimmer’s ear can be prevented. The experts at Elk Grove Hearing Care recommend:
- Keeping your ears dry by wearing earplugs or a swim cap. We offer custom-molded swim plugs for maximum comfort and protection.
- Dry the ears after swimming or showering with a towel or a hair dryer on the lowest setting. Also tip your head to each side for a few minutes to help water drain out.
- Avoid swimming at Shortline Lake if there are signs posted for high bacterial counts.
- Don’t put foreign objects in the ears, including fingers and cotton swabs.
Protect Yourself Against Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
In order to understand what causes noise-induced hearing loss, it’s important to understand how we hear.
Soundwaves from your environment are captured by the outer ear and travel down the ear canal, which leads to the eardrum. When the soundwave hits the eardrum, a vibration is created, which passes through three tiny bones within the middle ear called the malleus, incus and stapes. This vibration reaches the fluid-filled cochlea in the inner ear, which causes the fluid to move. This movement activates the tiny hair cells that line the cochlea, called stereocilia, creating an electrical impulse. This electrical impulse travels via the auditory nerve to the brain where it is interpreted as sound.
When sounds over 85 dB – about the volume of passing highway traffic – enter the ears, it can permanently damage the stereocilia, resulting in sensorineural hearing loss.
The best way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is to wear earplugs when attending a concert, operating power tools, enjoying a firework show or participating in other noisy activities.
For more information about protecting your hearing this summer or to schedule an appointment with an ear expert, call Elk Grove Hearing Care today.