You watch your weight and exercise for a healthy heart, but do you show the same concern for your hearing health?

Believe or not your ears are crucial to good health. Hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of problems such as dementia, heart disease, falls, and longer stays in hospital. Therefore it makes sense to keep your ears fit and well, so here’s how.

#1: Be noise aware

Exposing your ears to excessive noise is storing up problems for the future. But loud noises aren’t just the obvious things like operating heavy machinery at work, but lurk in the home as well. From food blenders to leaf blowers, be aware that sounds about 85 dB for prolonged periods of time could be irreversibly damaging the delicate hairs in the workings of the inner ear.

Consider using earplugs or headphones when in a noisy environment. Also be careful about listening to music on personal devices. If the volume is loud enough for other people to hear when you’re listening on headphone, then it’s too loud and could cause permanent long term damage.

#2: Clean your ears properly

Wax build up can impair your hearing, but cleaning incorrectly is worse than no cleaning at all. You may be surprised to learn the cotton tips are a bad idea when it comes to personal hygiene and your ears. The problem is that rounded tip tends to push wax deeper into the canal, packing it down. Dense wax deposits then dull your hearing and can act as a focus for infection.

#3: Dry your ears

If you are a water baby and love to swim or simply soaking in the shower, be sure to blot your ears dry afterwards. Water in prolonged contact with the skin of the ear canal, weakens the skin and makes it more prone to infection. While infections can be cleared with drops and antibiotics, your liable to have unpleasant earache in the interim.

#4: Practice safe flying

Where possible avoid flying when you have a cold. This is because the tube which equalizes pressures, the Eustachian tube, when the plane changes altitude is likely to be blocked. This leads to a buildup of pressure in the middle ear and a possible ruptured eardrum. Not only is this sore but the breech allows bacteria into the middle ear and increases the risk of infection.

#5: Don’t ignore hearing loss

If you have even mild hearing loss, especially in just one ear, schedule a hearing test with an audiologist. Hearing loss is no respecter of age, with young and old being affected. However correcting that hearing loss can protect you from detrimental complications. Also, hearing loss can be an early warning sign of cardiovascular problems and subtle changes on the audiogram can alert your hearing healthcare professional to suggest you see a doctor.

For you overall good health, keep these tips in mind to keep your ears healthy!