Ear Care During Pandemic
1. Improper use of face masks
While wearing face masks has become imperative for containing the spread of corona virus, wearing it for prolonged periods especially ones with short and tight loops can cause constant pressure on the skin behind the ear leading to pain and also allergic skin symptoms such as redness, itching.
A simple solution to this would be to wear masks of appropriate size taking care to ensure that nose and chin are covered by the mask.
Another solution for mask related ear issues is using ear guard/ ear protector.These ear protectors will decrease the pressure that elastic loops put on your ears by allowing you to loop the mask behind your head. It can free your ears and provide ease at work.
Other option especially for health care personnel is the use of head band face masks.
2. Excessive use of Earphones
The new normal is online classes/online meetings/social gatherings and webinars for which ear phones are used for durations to which the ears are not used to.
Since lockdown we have seen a surge in cases of ear fungal infections in which patients present with ear ache, itching, blocked ears and ear discharge. This is mostly happening because of prolonged use of ear phones especially the ones which are to be inserted in the ear. Overuse causes increased dampness& humidity inside the ear. Constant friction or inadvertent injury while insertion or not sanitizing them at regular intervals are some of the reasons for increased infection rates.
Tips to avoid fungal ear infection:
- Given a choice switch to over the ear head phones rather than in the ear ones.
- Take a break from ear phones. Let your ear skin breathe. Ideally take half hourly breaks for a minute or so.
- Sanitize your ear phones regularly.
3. Turn the volume down
In 2019, World Health Organization estimated that 1.1 billion young people globally are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.
Every second teenager listens to unsafe levels of sound through his/her smart phone or music player and others.
To avoid this problem – it is recommended to protect the ear by following 60/60 rule.
The suggestion is to listen with headphones at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes at a stretch.
When you use ear phones which go inside the ear there is no room for sound to leak outside and the entire sound energy is reaching the ear drum which causes hearing loss over a period of time. So, it is advisable to use ear phones or headsets which aren’t plugged into the ear and opt for ones over the ear.
One tends to increase the volume of the device when listening in noisy surroundings such as when travelling in a bus/train etc. So best would be to wear noise cancellation headphones to decrease chances of hearing loss.
No one expected these unprecedented times and the ear issues that have cropped up. Hope our ear care tips help you to take better care of your ears.