It is easy to take our hearing along with our other senses for granted. Practicing a few safety measures will help to protect your ears and hearing:
Avoid excessively loud noise whether work or socially related. Check with your employer regarding any existing safety recommendationsfor ear protection in the workplace. Be sure to "turn down the sound": don't self induce hearing loss with exposure to excessively loud music. Wear ear protection during recreational activities that may involve high level sound like skeet shooting.
Avoid "Q-tipping" in your ears. While use of "Q-tips" is practical for drying and removing wax from the exterior portion of the ears, many people insert them too deeply and actually increase any existing wax problem pushing it in further. If you tend to build a lot of ear wax, see your doctor to have the wax removed professionally and/or be advised regarding safe wax removal methods.
Do not insert foreign objects in your ears such as toothpicks, hairpins, etc. in attempts to clean ears. This may damage the lining of the ear canal or even worse, rupture your eardrum which will certainly result in pain and some degree of hearing loss.