Hearing is the ability to perceive sound by detecting vibrations and changes in the pressure of the surrounding medium. This is detected by an organ known as the ears. Hearing is one of the traditional five senses and the ears are an important part of us which is capable of helping us cope with our world. Therefore, humans must make sure to effectively take care of the ears in order to keep them working well even well into old age. Partial or total inability to hear is what is known as hearing loss. Usually, the three main causes of hearing loss are getting older, ear infections and noise. There is a major myth which has been around for a very long time. It claims that the yellow waxy substance which is found inside the ear and known as the ear wax is dirty and should be removed. This is a major myth and therefore should be debunked. The ear wax plays important roles; it protects the ear canal skin, it assists in cleaning the ear canal, it assists in lubricating the ear canal and above all, it provides protection from bacteria, fungi, insects and water. However even with all these, earwax becomes a concern when an impaction or a complete blockage of the ear canal occurs. These are some of the symptoms of an impaction:
• A feeling of fullness in the ear or a plugged-up sensation
• Consistent ringing in the ear
• Itching in the inside of the ear, odour and discharge
• Changing in hearing sensitivity or hearing impairment
Even with all these symptoms, it is important to first see your doctor before assuming that earwax is the problem. If earwax is the problem, your doctor will then remove it for you the right way.
• Do not stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear; do not use cotton wool as it can push wax down onto your eardrum and it can increase the production of wax. This may in the long run damage the eardrum.
• Be aware of noise in your environment. The sound level must not exceed 85 dB. If it does, reduce the noise level or wear ear protectors.
• When you listen to music with an earpiece or headphones, lower the volume and make sure not to play them too loudly.
• Wear ear plugs when you go to rock concerts and night clubs and make sure not to stand close to loudspeakers.
• Wear headphones if you frequently use noisy equipment such as drills, lawn mowers, etc.
• Do not use fingers or towels in your ears
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