Summertime is here again! During the summer, there is a huge boom of outdoor events like conventions, concerts and water activities. The thing that connects large conventions, summer tours and even swimming is the underlying risks these activities pose to the ear and ultimately hearing.
The ear itself has two main parts: the inner ear and the outer ear. The outer ear is what most of us are familiar with and what most people would imagine when they say the word “ear” while the inner ear is the more delicate part of the ear. Certain activities can potentially damage the ear and require extra means of protection.
For activities like swimming or any activities where foreign substances can more easily come into contact with and enter the ear, it is best to wear some kind of ear plug to prevent the invasion of a foreign substance. Large bodies of water can carry all sorts of bacteria and debris, whether it is the family pool or the local lake, and these things pose a risk when they enter the ear. Should the inside of the ear become wet, it is best to dislodge any water by turning the head to allow gravity to work. Temperature and elevation play a role in aural health as well. If it is a cold environment, it is best to keep ears warm to avoid otosclerosis or abnormal bone growth within the ear.
What about the inner ear? Well, the inner ear has many unique formations that can be affected by outside influence. The most vulnerable formation is actually a tiny little hair. These hairs are on the Organ of Corti and are dubbed stereocilia. The thing about stereocilia is that they do not grow back when damaged so it is very important to take care of them while they are still around. These hairs respond to vibrations and send the sounds to our brains, allowing the perception of sound. Loud areas like concerts, conventions or places with crowds of people and noises can be dangerous for the stereocilia and it is recommended to wear earplugs to help dampen the audio load from these environments.
Infections and ringing sounds in the ear (tinnitus) are not uncommon consequences of having fun over the summer. If these issues arise, be sure to contact your trusted audiologist to aid with and oversee the healing process. Most of the time, minor afflictions can go away on their own but it is still always best to have a professional opinion on whether or not any additional care is needed for a full recovery.
Please schedule your hearing assessment checkup with Southern Nevada Audiology in Las Vegas today! Learn more about the advancements in modern hearing aids.