Hearing plays an important role in how we relate to the world. Think of all the different sounds we might hear in a day. A persistent alarm clock, the sound of children laughing, or heavy rainfall—all of these sounds communicate something to us. What about a song that lifts our spirits, a helpful conversation we recently had, or the time we heard someone crying for help? Our sense of hearing has the potential to profoundly connect us to others and to the outside world.
Improper ear care is one of the biggest factors in poor hearing. With proper attention, however, we can help preserve this vital sense.
One simple way is to protect the ears from loud sounds. Loud sounds can damage the nerve cells inside the ear. By keeping our stereos, headphones, telephone ringers, radios, televisions, computers, and other devices at reasonable volume levels, we can reduce the stress placed upon our ears. For noise we can’t control, like a loud music festival, sounds at the airport, or heavy construction, a simple pair of earplugs can reduce these sounds to a safer level for our ears.
Another way to maintain our hearing is by cleaning, massaging, and lubricating our ears regularly. This improves fluid circulation in the ears and supports the bones, skin, hairs, and nerves inside the ear canal.
The ear canal is naturally and constantly moistened by a sticky secretion that prevents dust and bacteria from entering. A build up of this secretion leads to what we call earwax. Excess earwax can irritate the ear canal and cause pain, dizziness, itching, and partial hearing loss. Using a cotton swap to try to remove earwax can worsen the situation. If the problem is serious, it’s best to seek medical help. However, in most cases, following a simple ear-care regime is all you need.
Here are some simple suggestions from Ayurveda:
Cleaning and Massaging
When you’re standing in the shower, gently massage the outside and inside of your ears with your fingers, allowing warm water to wash over the ears. Using a soft wet facecloth, rub behind the ears and inside the crevices. Ears are sensitive, so be gentle. Afterwards, dry the ears with a soft cloth, leaning to each side to remove any water from the inner ear.
Rest your head to one side. With a small, clean dropper, put 3 to 4 drops of room temperature sesame oil into the ears. It’s best to use a pure oil that is organic, fresh, and cold-pressed. Don’t use toasted sesame oil, like the dark kind you use in Asian cooking—make sure the color is light. Allow a few minutes for the oil to be absorbed, and then wipe off any excess. This will help soften and lubricate any wax build-up and keep things flowing better. Repeat on the other side.