The outer ear collects sound waves and directs them into the ear.
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A Major Link to Wellness
The ability to socialize. The desire to venture out of the house. Improved work productivity – all these scenarios are affected by our capacity to hear well.
Anatomy of the Ear
The ear detects and analyzes sound by transduction, maintains equilibrium, and is made up of three parts – the outer, middle and inner ear.
The middle ear is located between the eardrum and the oval window and transmits sound from the outer ear to the inner ear.
The inner ear consists of the cochlea, the vestibular and the auditory nerve. The cochlea transforms soundwaves into electric impulses that are sent to the brain and translates those impulses into sounds that we understand. The auditory nerve is a bundle of connected nerve fibers that carry information between the cochlea and the brain. The vestibular registers body movements and ensures we maintain our equilibrium.
Hearing health begins with check-ups.
Untreated hearing loss can go undiagnosed for years, and usually you are the last to know.
The first step to maintaining healthy hearing is to schedule a hearing exam. The general rule of thumb is that you should have your ears tested every three years. If you work in a noisy environment, you should have your ears checked more often. People over 50 should have yearly ear exams.
Knowing where your hearing stands provides the benefit of providing a baseline that can help your doctor to detect any hearing issues in the future.
Prevention Best Practices
While regular hearing exams is one prevention technique, there are other practices that you can begin that will help to preserve your hearing health.
Avoid loud activities and places.
Use earplugs or noise reduction headphones.
Try to move away from the loudest sound source (e.g. speakers).
Turn down the volume on your TV, music, mobile phone, etc.
Avoid using cotton swabs, other small items to scratch or clean your ears.
Exercise to improve blood flow and avoid high levels of stress.
Manage your blood pressure and cardiac health.
Limit alcohol consumption and say no to smoking and vaping.
If you’re diabetic, manage your sugar levels.
Incorporate B12, potassium, iron and magnesium into your vitamin supplement regimen or eat foods rich in these vitamins and minerals.
Types of hearing devices:
Should you experience significant hearing loss, an audiologist may suggest the use of a hearing device. There are several types of hearing aids and implants. Some perform different functions.
Worn in the ear canal and usually must be custom-fit based on an impression that is taken during your hearing aid consultation.
Sit behind or on top of the outer ear and has tubing that routes sound down into the ear canal using a custom-fit earmold or dome-style.
Should you require a hearing aid, seek the advice of your audiologist, ask for a trial period to ensure the device is right for you, and check for a warranty.
Enable people to hear and understand sound even if they have damaged the hair cells in their inner ear and have severe hearing loss.
Convert sounds into vibrations that are transmitted directly into the inner ear via the bones in the head.
Pick up sound and converts them into vibrations, which are sent to the middle ear and into the inner ear.
Convert sounds into signals that are sent directly to the brain.