TRY THESE TIPS TO AVOID SWIMMER’S EAR

Summer is almost here! It’s time for trips to the beach and sunny days spent in the pool. Swimming in the pool can be a lot of fun, but it what isn’t fun is swimmer’s ear.

Did you know that swimmer’s ear is actually an ear infection caused by bacteria breeding in the ear canal when there is trapped moisture? The best way to deal with Swimmer’s Ear is to avoid it altogether. Here are a few ways to do that.

Don’t let water get trapped in your ears! Since swimmer’s ear is a result of trapped moisture, if you keep your ears clean and dry there is no way for the bacteria to thrive. After water gets in your ears from swimming or another activity, thoroughly dry your ears. You can use towel to dry the outer ear canal, and a hair dryer on the cool setting can help you dry the unreachable parts. Some people use rubbing alcohol to dry out their ears, but frequent use of rubbing alcohol can actually cause more infection later on.

Use swimming ear plugs. To prevent moisture from entering your ears at all, use swimming ear plugs. They can be purchased online, at some retail outlets, or your audiologist’s office. The most important thing is that they fit your ears well, otherwise they may do more harm than good—and don’t use just any earplugs. They should be designed for swimming.  

Use over-the-counter ear drops. You may have used ear drops in the past to help remove unwanted water or moisture after swimming. Over-the-counter ear drops can be a great way to facilitate drying out the ear canal. Other effective things to use are white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, olive oil and hydrogen peroxide. Rubbing alcohol can cause excessive dryness with repeated use and hydrogen peroxide can kill good bacteria in your ear canal and, so use those sparingly.

If the reason for the moisture is that your ears are clogged with excessive earwax, ear drops will not be effective. Also, if you have a synthetic ear tubes or a ruptured ear drum never use ear drops.

Healthy skin creates a healthy ear environment. The best way to contribute to ear health and prevent infection in and around your ears is healthy skin. If the skin in your ears is dry or cracked, infection may result. For flaky dry skin in or around your ears, try these tips:

  • Don’t scratch or cut your ears
  • Keep your ears dry
  • Never use Q-tips or poke other objects in the ear.                   
  • Be gentle with cleaning. If you have excessive ear wax, see a doctor for cleaning.

You can minimize your risk of any infection (including Swimmer’s Ear) by remembering these preventative tips. Regular check-ups with your audiologist is important for maintaining ear health.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.

TWO LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU BETTER

San Mateo

88 N. San Mateo Drive
San Mateo, California, 94401

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435
Email: info@calhearing.com

San Carlos

1008 Laurel Street
San Carlos, California, 94070

Phone: (650) 342-9449
Fax: (650) 342-4435
Email: info@calhearing.com

NOISE POLLUTION AND HEARING HEALTH

There is noise pollution everywhere we go: there are even “noise-cancelling” features in our earbuds and headphones that filter out background noises for us. If we are exposed to unwanted noises for too long, it can be very irritating. No matter what the noise pollution: airplanes overhead or traffic from a nearby road, a dog barking or a lawnmower in a neighbor’s yard– noise pollution is ubiquitous.

Filtering Noise Pollution

With all of the noise surrounding us, it’s no wonder we have different ways to filter it. Our “noise filters” help us block unwanted noise and hear the sounds we do want to hear. Noise pollution is all of the unwanted sound.

Noise pollution can be made up of every-day sounds, and even some of the sounds we want to hear can pose a risk to hearing health. Stereo systems at concerts, movie theaters, sporting events, or even home speakers or ear buds can expose your ears to sounds so loud they can damage your hearing. We like to attend social gatherings and places like bars, concerts, or fireworks shows, but they can increase risk of hearing damage the most.

Hearing Damage

Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by exposure to noises over 80 decibels. This hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. Loud, short bursts of noises, like a gunshot or an airplane overhead, can hurt our ears and can cause hearing damage right away.

Even everyday noises we don’t think much about can affect our hearing health. Examples of these noises are lawnmowers (about 90 decibels) and vacuum cleaners (about 70 decibels) By comparison, a normal conversation may be about 60 decibels.

Noise pollution can actually affect our entire bodies. A loud noise such as a bang can disturb digestion, alter your heartbeat and disrupt breathing patterns. Constant exposure to a loud noise can cause crankiness and make it difficult to sleep. Noise can even impact your blood pressure.

After attending a very noisy event like a fireworks show, you may experience a ringing sound in your ears. This ringing is tinnitus, and it can last just a few minutes or even a few days. Permanent hearing loss can result if there are several episodes of tinnitus. Age related hearing loss is due in part to this cumulative effect of hearing damage over a lifetime.

Be Proactive

Fortunately, we can be pro-active to prevent hearing damage by protecting ourselves from noise pollution. This will help to make sure we maintain good hearing even into our older years. Limiting exposure to loud noises is of course one of the best ways to prevent hearing loss. There are a lot of noises we control, like our own stereo systems when we watch movies or listen to music at home. When you are on the go, you can still listen to music but make a switch to over-the-ear headphones instead of earbuds, which are more likely to damage hearing.

When we have plans to attend a very loud event, do your best to avoid the noisiest spots, or even bring ear plugs. If there are loud noises outside such as construction work or a lawnmower, close the windows until the noise subsides.

Noise-canceling headphones allow us to enjoy music at lower volumes, without having to compete with the noises outside of the headphones. That can help to protect hearing for the future as well.

By taking small, easy steps to protect your hearing on a daily basis, you can work to prevent hearing damage as you get older.

If you suspect hearing loss, whatever the cause, visit your audiologist to take action. You may find a resolution that can inhibit or stop the development of hearing damage.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.

PROTECT YOUR HEARING AND STILL ENJOY CONCERTS!

With summertime comes fun in the sun and outdoors at concerts and picnics.  It’s the time for beach visits and laying out by the pool, park outings, and outdoor concerts when the day cools into evening. Festivals and concerts are a great change meet new friends, hear great music and hang out outside.

One thing that all concerts are is loud, however: often the noise levels are in more than 100 decibels! We know that hearing loss can happen at noise levels that are higher than 80 dB, it’s vital that we take precautions to guard our hearing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy summer festivities!

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Youth

An estimated 1.1 billion youth world-wide have been affected by noise-induced hearing damage. Energetic and adventurous, young people often gather in loud environments such as night clubs, sporting events and concerts, which often have very loud music or noise from crowds.

Even a short period of exposure to loud music can cause hearing damage, so it is important to find ways to protect your ears before going to these venues.

In one Amsterdam study in 2015, the effects on hearing of wearing earplugs or not wearing them was measured for outdoor concert-goers. 25 people wore earplugs to the concert and 26 people went without them. Of those, In the 4.5-hours concert, temporary hearing loss was measured in 22 of the 26 unprotected participants.

In contrast, only 4 people of the 25 wearing earplugs showed any hearing damage at all. Since repeated occurrences of temporary hearing loss can lead to permanent hearing loss, preventing even temporary hearing damage is crucial to long-term hearing health.

What Should I Do?

When worn during exposure to loud noises, earplugs can help to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. So next time you attend a sporting event, concert, or night club consider grabbing a pair of earplugs first.

Though this type of hearing loss is often temporary, remember that repeated exposure can have long-term effects and eventually become permanent damage. Sounds being muffled or difficulty hearing quiet sounds are some symptoms of hearing loss. If you experience any of these symptoms, please see your audiologist for a hearing screening to check on the level of damage and if anything can be done to prevent further hearing loss.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.

Pool Time! Avoid Swimmer’s Ear with These Tips

It’s summer time, and for most of us, that means we will spend some hot days in the pool. Pool time is a lot of fun, but it also comes with the risk of swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear is a type of ear infection, caused by bacteria that breeds in the ear canal when moisture is trapped there. Here are some ways to make sure you prevent this painful infection.

Keep it Dry

Keeping your ears dry and clean, especially after swimming, is a sure-fire way to prevent swimmer’s ear, because the bacteria need moisture to thrive. Thoroughly dry your ears out after swimming. You can use a hair dryer on the cool setting if you think tilting your head and using a towel isn’t cutting it. While some people use rubbing alcohol to help speed up the process, doing this too often can actually cause more infection in the long run.

Plug them Up

Wearing ear plugs while swimming can prevent moisture from getting trapped in your ears in the first place. You can find swimming ear plugs at some stores or at your audiologist’s office. Be sure to get well-fitting ear plugs designed for swimming.

Ear Drops to the Rescue

Ear drops can also be used after swimming to facilitate drying out the ear canal. Some favorite liquids to use are rubbing alcohol, olive oil, hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar. Rubbing alcohol can cause excessive dryness with repeated use and hydrogen peroxide can also kill beneficial bacteria in your ear, so use those two sparingly. If your ears are clogged with excessive earwax, ear drops will not be effective. Also, never use ear drops if you have a synthetic ear tubes or a ruptured ear drum.

Ear Wax basics

Too much or too little ear wax can also cause a problem because ear wax is important for maintaining ear health and preventing infections.

Read more about how to clean and maintain ear wax here:

https://www.verywell.com/all-about-ear-wax-blockage-1192040

Keep Your Skin Healthy

Healthy skin in and around your ears contributes to ear health and prevents infection. If the skin in your ears is too try or cracked, the environment can promote infection. If you have dry, flaky skin in or around your ears, try these tips:

  • Keep your ears dry
  • Don’t scratch or cut your ears in any way
  • Don’t use Q-tips or other objects inserted in the ear. These can damage the skin.
  • Don’t clean your ears forcefully. Be gentle with any cleaning, and if you have excessive ear wax, see a doctor for cleaning.

If you keep in mind all of these preventative tips, your risk of any infection, including swimmer’s ear, is reduced. As always, regular check-ups with your audiologist is key to maintaining ear health.

Drop by at 88 N San Mateo Dr. San Mateo, CA 94401  (650) 342-9449

Welcome to May: Better Hearing Month!

With aging comes normal changes in hearing, as well as language and speech.

There are ways to maintain good hearing and speech, however. Here are a few ways to keep your hearing in tip-top shape:

Protection Can Prevent Hearing Loss. When participating in loud activities, such as going to a concert, mowing the lawn or spending time building in the shop, those loud noises can damage hearing. Exposing your ears unprotected to 105 decibels for one hour can damage hearing. Always use noise protection, such as earplugs.

How do you know if you are experiencing hearing loss? Do you keep your TV or radio at a level that others say is too loud? Do you often need to turn toward a sound to hear it better? Do you often ask others to repeat what they are saying? Do you have pain or ringing in your ears, or an ear infection?

If any of these is “Yes,” it is a very good idea to have a hearing test with an audiologist to prevent further damage. It is possible to treat hearing loss and stop it in its tracks, so don’t let it impact your daily life.

Speak normally. When in a loud environment, try not to strain your voice by yelling over the noise, because it can cause vocal damage or hearing impairment. Whispering and throat-clearing can also be hard on your vocal cords. If your throat feels dry, drink plenty of fluids.

Over-use of vocal cords can result in trauma and damage, affecting your voice. Polyps, cysts and vocal nodules are all issues related to over-use of the vocal cords in adults. Allergies and acid reflux can also contribute to throat and voice problems. Resting and treating these issues can help to preserve your voice.

Most hearing, speech and language problems can be avoided, especially if issues are identified and treated early.

Fortunately, it is May, and May is Better Hearing Month!

FREE Hearing Screening throughout May at California Hearing Center!

In support May is Better Hearing Month, California Hearing Center invites you to come in for your Free Hearing Screening. When it comes to your hearing health, prevention is still the best medicine! No-obligation.

Every Friday during the month of May
May 5, 12, 19 & 26
9:00 am – 2:30 pm
All ages welcome – No appointment necessary.

Drop by at 88 N San Mateo Dr. San Mateo, CA 94401  (650) 342-9449

Could Hearing Loss be Related to Snoring?

If you sleep in the same room with a snorer, you know it can be an annoyance, and make you lose sleep. Recent research is also finding, however, that pesky noise can do even more damage than that. If you sleep beside someone who snores, you may be at a higher risk for hearing loss than someone who does not.

Researchers performed hearing tests on healthy middle-aged adults who regularly slept next to snoring partners. The analysis showed that each of the four subjects had high-frequency hearing loss in the ear closest to the snoring partner. This finding suggests that snoring can actually cause hearing damage. Snores as loud as 100 decibels have been recorded during sleep, and sounds of over 85 decibels have the potential to damage hearing.

It turns out the snorers themselves can also be in danger of hearing damage, but for a different reason. People who snore sometimes suffer from sleep apnea, a condition in which they stop breathing for a few seconds at a time. In affected individuals, they may experience these “breathing pauses” as often as 30 to 40 times in one night. Although it is unclear why, sleep apnea is associated with a higher incidence of high- and low-frequency hearing loss in addition to other health concerns. Evidence suggests that sleep apnea may injure a structure in the inner ear called the cochlea, which houses tiny hairs that transmit sound to the brain.

If you or your bed partner snore, it is important to see a doctor to evaluate the possibility of sleep apnea. If you share a bed with a snoring partner, ear plugs can block the sounds of snoring and protect your hearing. Be sure to have your hearing tested regularly as well.