Our ears are bombarded with sounds, from blaring music and cars racing by, to the sound of a vacuum cleaner and noisy construction sites. Unless you happen to live in a more remote location, constant stimulation seems to be the norm these days. Speaking of remote places, when I was deep in the rainforest of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica hoping to escape the hustle and bustle back home, I much enjoyed the quietude. That is until one night, I was rudely awakened by a terrifying sound. Someone was banging on my window in the dead of the night. Frozen in fear, my heart sank under the blanket. Who was this wilderness intruder and what did he or she want? When I soon discovered that this “intruder” was a monkey was knocking on my window, the panic was replaced with laughter. What a bizarre encounter.
Weirdly enough, this experience led me to a newfound gratitude for my ears. Enlightened by the realization of how much our ears constantly do for us, I felt compelled to take better care of my ears. After all, they protect and provide for us in a variety of ways; they alert us of potential dangers in our environment (i.e. hissing snake, sirens, alarms). They make it possible for us to walk (via the inner ear balance mechanism), enable us to hear the soothing sound of rain, and allow us to be a listening ear. Indeed our ears are literally always by our side. Now, how can we take these brilliant gadgets for granted after all that they do for us?
Here are a few ways to pay it forward and care for your ears:
PROTECT AND DEFEND
- If you’re going to a concert or watching fireworks, protect your ears with earplugs + safety earmuffs for an added layer of protection.
- If you use earbuds, be extra careful to watch that volume! Earbuds can send dangerously loud sounds directly into your ear canal and put you at risk of hearing loss.
- Q- tips are safe to use outside of your ear. However, putting q-tips into your ear canal can irritate and scratch the ear canal and damage the eardrum. If you’re using q-tips for earwax removal, q-tips can actually push the wax deeper into the ear and interfere with the natural process of ears cleaning themselves ( removing wax).
SUPPORT AND STRENGTHEN
- Strengthen and sharpen your hearing by taking a walk in the forest (or a different backdrop) with many natural sounds. Focus on the sounds around you, and write all that you notice in a journal. Do this daily for a week or two, and pay attention to how you heighten your hearing awareness and sensitize yourself to sounds.
- Practice some gentle yoga poses. Research suggests that yoga can help improve hearing loss in some individuals. This is said to be due to increased circulation to the ears, as well as support to nerve function.
CARE FOR YOUR EARS,
AND TAKE CARE! :)