UFH first-year Rehabilitative Sciences Students say: “Love your ears this Festive Season”

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Ears don’t just help you hear, they also help you keep your balance and contribute to speech and language development. Recently, UFH first-year Rehabilitative Sciences students hosted an awareness campaign to remind the University community about the importance of taking care of their ears.

Themed: “Love your ears this festive”, the campaign hosted at the East London campus forms part of the students’ Community Engagement and Health Promotion module.  The event aimed to raise awareness about how to care for one’s ears and hearing this festive season by educating the attendees about the importance of regularly having their ears and hearing checked, as well as, where to get assistance should one show early warning signs of ear diseases.

In addition to the health and hygiene tips, attendees also got a free ear screening on-site.

Ms Khomotjo Kgare, a Speech-Language Therapist & Audiologist who is a Lecturer at the Department of Rehabilitative Sciences said as we approach the festive season, it is important to recognize some of the things we do which may be hazardous to our ears and hearing.

“Caring for our ears and hearing is something that is often taken lightly. Some of our current practices may have damaging effects on our ears without our knowledge. Moreover, most people do not know where to go in case they suspect ear and hearing difficulties,” she stated.

Below are some of the tips shared by the Department:

Cotton buds or earbuds

The most common practice of cleaning our ears with cotton buds, firstly, not only can the earbud poke your ear or get stuck in your ear but you are working against the ear’s process of cleaning itself. Secondly, one doesn’t really know if there are any foreign objects in the ear, so by using a cotton bud, you may be pushing that object further into your ear and causing pain. Earwax plays an important role in our ears, because of its sticky nature, should something get into your ear, the wax traps it so that it doesn’t go deeper into your ear to cause harm to you.

Noise (music and firecrackers)

In most of our communities, the festive season is a time for celebrations and festivities. Most of us will be engaging in activities where there is excessively loud music playing. At these events, try not to be too close to the music speaker and, from time to time, step out of the noisy area to give your ears a “listening break”. Make sure that after attending such an event, you keep away from exposing yourself to more noise at least for a day or two. Hearing loss that is caused by exposure to noise is irreversible because it causes direct damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. In most cases, you may not experience the impact immediately because this type of hearing loss builds up gradually. On the 31st of December, as we light up firecrackers, be cautious of those loud banging “sounding like a bomb”, if possible, wear your earplugs as you light it up. That sound can cause immediate loss of hearing.

Physical altercations

Try as much as possible to avoid engaging in physical altercations, if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, try to protect your face and ears. This is because a hard slap on the face can cause damage to your eardrum e.g. rupturing or tearing of an eardrum.

The use of eardrops

Lastly, should you experience any form of pain in your ear, avoid using eardrops that were not prescribed because none of us knows what is happening in our own ears unless they were checked by a health professional.  It is advisable to use oral medication such as painkillers until you get medical attention. It is said that “ear drops are safe as long as your eardrum is intact” however, if you have never had your ears checked, you may not know if your eardrum is intact or not. 

We hope these tips will assist in improving your ear and hearing healthcare practices. #LoveYourEars and have a safe and blessed festive season.