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Hearing loss: Do you do this? The ‘common’ mistake that could cause ‘deafness’ – expert

Chris Packham reveals how diving accident caused hearing loss

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“Protecting the ears is often not a topic one takes into consideration until it’s too late,” said Katie Ogden, Audiologist and Training Manager at hearing aid provider ReSound. “With many individuals [being] unaware that their everyday habits could be compromising the future quality of their hearing.” 

While you might automatically reach for a cotton bud when trying to clean your ear, the expert warned that this is a “common” mistake.

Although the little white sticks are “commonly” used to remove earwax, with 96 percent of people opting for them, they could be harmful.

Ogden said: “Cotton buds can do more harm than good, pushing earwax deeper into the ear and causing it to build up further inside the ear canal. 

“In more serious cases, the cotton bud can also cause damage to the structures of the inner ear causing vertigo, deafness and even facial paralysis.”

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The Mayo Clinic recommends seeking “immediate medical attention” if you experience sudden hearing loss.

You might also start losing your hearing progressively but that doesn’t happen without your ears ringing the alarm bells.

According to the health portal, the warning signs of hearing loss include:

  • Muffling of speech and other sounds
  • Difficulty understanding words (especially against background noise or in a crowd)
  • Trouble hearing consonants
  • Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
  • Needing to turn up the volume of the television or radio
  • Withdrawal from conversations
  • Avoidance of some social settings.

While opting for cotton buds could stir up some serious problems, this technique isn’t the only risky yet “common” practice.

Another “popular” earwax removal trend is so-called ear candling.

This method sees people using long, cone-shaped candles lit on fire to draw out any earwax.

However, the expert warned that this can also lead to hearing loss.

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Ogden said: “Not only can this method result in burns from the flame, but the candle wax can even drip into the ear, clogging the canal and making you lose hearing for a while. 

“The method unapproved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] has also been reported to have previously caused punctured eardrums.”

In case you’re not aware, a ruptured eardrum details a hole or tear in the thin tissue that separates your ear canal from the middle ear.

This injury can also lead to hearing loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The last common earwax removal method that might not be completely safe is hydrogen peroxide.

The expert shared that problems might occur especially if you start overusing this substance.

She said: “The overuse of hydrogen peroxide to soften earwax, and to remove it, can not only cause irritation to the skin inside of the ear and be abrasive, but it can even lead to unwanted effects like inflammation of the inner ear and earaches.”

The NHS explains that while earaches are not usually “anything serious”, they can still be painful and uncomfortable.

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