The ear is a very complex organ that you may take for granted many times – until when you fall sick and it affects your hearing, or as you grow older and realize you do not hear as well as you used to.
It is the main organ that determines your hearing ability, but also your overall body balance. It sends sound signals to your brain, which interprets sounds and allows you to hear. When you don’t take proper care of them, you are simply causing unnecessary damage. The good news is that the problems are manageable, and you can even do preventive measures that will prevent damage to them or lead to hearing loss.
Buildup of earwax
The earwax is not just something that your ears produce for the sake of it – it has an important role in defending them from external damage. The role of earwax is to lubricate, clean and protect the ear canal, since it traps any dirt entering the ears while slowing down the buildup of bacteria.
When the earwax builds up, it creates problems for the ear though, as it does not wash away naturally. Some signs of buildup of earwax include dizziness, aches and pains in the ear, a feeling of fullness within the ear canal, decreasing hearing, static noises or constant ringing in the ears, coughing, and irritation in the throat area.
What causes the problem?
Surprisingly, using cotton swabs to clean ear blockages is among the biggest culprits. The earwax comes from certain glands that are located in the outer part of the canal, and they, with the help of tiny hairs, also trap harmful particles such as dust from causing damage to the ears.
Using cotton swabs can damage these glands, and that means you are ruining your body’s natural defenses. The body will react by either producing too much wax or pushing wax further back into the canal, and this causes discomfort.
When do you seek treatment?
If these symptoms apply in your case, then you will require advice from an ENT specialist that can help in diagnosis. The removal of wax needs to be done safely by a doctor, as the inner part of the ear is very delicate.
Infection of the middle ear
There are not many things that are as uncomfortable and painful as an infection in the ear, and they happen when infections of viruses or bacteria fill the spaces behind the eardrum. The area is particularly painful because it contains very small bones that vibrate whenever sounds are transmitted, so inflammation in the area will lead to a lot of pain.
The symptoms include feeling irritable, pain in the ears particularly when lying down, more crying than usual, difficulties in sleeping, fever, losses of balance, difficulties I responding and hearing sounds, fluid draining from the ear, and migraines.
Causes of ear infections
The problem, which tends to happen more in children than adults, will usually occur when you suffer from a flu, allergies, or a cold. These illnesses are particularly infamous for causing swellings and congestion of the Eustachian tubes, the nasal cavity and the throat. The Eustachian tubes are particularly affected because they extend from the middle of your ears to your throat, and they regulate drainage of normal secretions as well as air pressure.
Preventing the issue
The best way is practicing ear hygiene, such as not sharing beverages or food with sick people, and washing your hands regularly. In the case of babies, breastfeed them as often as possible, since breast milk has antibodies, which help their bodies fight bacterial and viral infections.
In addition, because young children are more vulnerable to ear infections, it is important to take them for regular ear checkups.
This is less of a condition, and more of the result of underlying problems such as circulatory system disorders, hearing loss or injuries to the ear. It is not as painful as the other infections, but it is irritating – you constantly hear buzzing, clicking, or ringing sounds in the ear.
The major reason for the development of tinnitus is damage of the inner ear, brought about by varied factors. These factors will lead to the breakage of tiny hairs that are located in the middle ear, which are responsible for sending sound signals to the brain when they vibrate. When they break, they constantly send false sounds to your brain, mainly about sounds that are non-existent.
The most common factors include age-related hearing loss, constant exposure to very loud sounds, as well as blockage of the canal by earwax.
Prevention of tinnitus
For the case of age-related hearing loss, you cannot really stop it from happening, although you can do some precautions to reduce the rate of its development. For instance, wearing ear muffs, especially when you are continuously exposed to loud noises at work. In addition, reducing the volume of your headphones when you listen to music is another way.
Another method that you may not have thought of is the incorporation of regular exercise, as maintaining the health of your blood vessels will help in preventing tinnitus that has a link to disorders of the blood vessels.
Preventing ear infections in kids: ear tubes
In the case of children, they may be susceptible to numerous ear infections, so ear tubes might assist them by preventing long-term problems with their hearing. The body of a child is still developing, so their Eustachian tubes are shorter and smaller – and that means they do not drain very efficiently.
When they have a cold or a viral infection, these tubes swell due to blockages, and that makes the pain unbearable for them. Sometimes, the infection goes away on its own after a doctor provides some medication, especially antibiotics if it is bacterial – but these can assist them to heal faster if the infection is particularly stubborn.
The occurrences of ear infection is as common as catching a cold – but it is something you can prevent or delay as much as you can. Ear tubes are just one way of doing that, while other measures involve hygiene and other practices.