The Dos and Don’ts of Ear Health

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The human ear is a marvel of anatomical engineering which converts sound waves into meaningful sound.

Just like any other system in the body, there are ways to keep the ears healthy.

“Most ears are self-cleaning,” said Dr. Steven Rauch, who practices otology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Institute in Boston.

He says cellular debris actually moves on its own from the inner ear to the outer, with the help of ear wax.

That is why cotton swabs are pretty much public enemy number one when it comes to keeping the ears healthy.

“When you put one in you plow the ear wax further down the ear canal, like a muzzle loading a cannon,” said Dr. Rauch.

Still, there are some situations in which the ears do need to be cleaned out.

Diet, age and climate can all play a role in making ear wax too sticky to leave the ear on its own.

“If the wax build up is substantial enough it blocks the ear canal and you can’t hear,” said Dr. Rauch.

The potential for damage to our ears is all around us.

Hearing experts recommend limiting exposure to loud noise and muffling that exposure by wearing decibel-reducing headphones.

“Once you’ve done that kind of hearing damage, it’s irreversible,” said Dr. Rauch.

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