Health Talk
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Ear Health: Do You Hear What I Hear?

child-hearing-monty_WEBYou may not think that your ears are the most attractive parts of your body, but they definitely are two of the most valuable! Ears are in charge of collecting sounds, processing them, and sending sound signals to your brain. Hearing is how we experience music and interact socially with one another. Our hearing also protects us from danger – a honking horn or someone warning us to move out of the way.

Your ears also help you keep your balance. When you move your head, fluid inside your ear canals tells your brain what you’re up to and how to compensate.  In less than a second, your brain sends messages to the right muscles so you keep your balance.

How Your Ears Work

The way your ear picks up sounds is an amazing sound system. Each ear has three sections: the outer, middle, and inner ear. Inside the middle ear are three tiny bones designed to aid with sound transmittal. Each has a role in capturing the sound from the air, then relaying it back to the brain.

Earwax forms a barrier inside your ear canal. It is sticky so it can trap debris and particles and protect your ears.

Ear Care

One in every 10 Canadians has some degree of hearing loss. But there are things everyone can do to protect their ears, and in turn, protect their hearing.

Keep Your Ears Warm & Dry

Your mother was right. When it’s cold, you should wear a hat. Constant exposure to cold weather allows knobs of bony growth to appear on the bone surrounding the ear canal, which interferes with hearing and also increases the risk of infection.

Never Stick Anything in Your Ear

Your ear actually cleans itself, and sticking anything in can push earwax further into your ear or cause damage to your ear.

Adjust the Volume

Most of us love listening to music. Unfortunately, listening can take a toll on our ears. Keep the volume down and wear protective devices when you’re exposed to loud noise for long periods of time.

Fun Ear Facts

  • Your earlobes never stop growing because they are made of cartilage. In addition, the effects of gravity mean that they tend to elongate as we age!
  • You can never “turn off” your ears. Although the brain processes sounds differently when you are asleep, they still hear and process sound.
  • The oldest Egyptian mummy ever found (who lived over 5,000 years ago) had pierced ears.