Summertime can be a great opportunity for criminals as we all relax and lower our guard. While petty theft from restaurants or on the beach can be a hassle, there is one gang of thieves you should really watch out for. They’re the Hearing Hoodlums who can steal your summer by stopping you from fully enjoying all the wonderful warm weather sounds you’re used to.

Waves crashing. Sweet nothings. Children laughing. Rain falling on a tin roof. The whir of a fishing reel or the sizzle of sausages on the braai. Can you imagine summer without these sounds?

Well, these thieves can – and if you let them, they’ll pilfer the best bits of the season by degrading your hearing. It’s time to get to know them – and learn how to defeat their dastardly plans.

When you spend time in the pool or the sea, water can get trapped in your ear canal. You’ve probably had that feeling when you have to shake your head to make your ears “pop”. Any water that remains behind can provide ideal moist conditions for bacteria to grow. The main symptoms of swimmer’s ear are redness in the ear, plus feelings of discomfort and “warmth”. You could also experience muffled sounds. Your Hearing Works hearing care professional can check your ears and refer you to your GP to clear up the infection.

This hearing thief has been “sticking” around for years. It’s more common in kids, and happens when “thick” fluid builds up in the middle ear, causing infections and hearing loss. Glue ear can be a result of a summer cold or allergies to pollen or pet hair.

Glue ear should resolve itself but if an infection happens, you (or your child) could need antibiotics. Your Hearing Works hearing care professional can advise on the best approach. You should have your kid’s ears checked if they start talking unusually loudly or complaining of a blocked feeling or buzzing sounds.

Ear infections tend to be more common in summer thanks to heat, humidity and swimming. They can also be caused by wearing headphones (hello, teenagers!) or using cotton earbuds.

Your Hearing Works hearing care professional can help guide you to manage the infection or refer you to a doctor as required.

BE AN AUDIO CRIME STOPPER!

To check that you know how to beat the Hearing Hoodlums, complete our quick quiz. If you get the answers right, you can look forward to a summer full of special sounds.