The ear is the organ of hearing and balance. The outer ear protrudes away from the head and is shaped like a cup to direct sounds toward the tympanic membrane, which transmits vibrations to the inner ear through a series of small bones in the middle ear called the malleus, incus and stapes.
The inner ear, or cochlea, is a spiral-shaped chamber covered internally by nerve fibers that react to the vibrations and transmit impulses to the brain via the auditory nerve. The brain combines the input of our two ears to determine the direction and distance of sounds.
Wax in the ear
Self cleaning mechanism of ear
The ear is normally a self-cleaning mechanism. Wax acts in a protective manner, catching particles that may land in the ear. Fine hairs inside the ear canal constantly move wax and sloughed skin out of the canal. Wax and skin can build up inside the ear canal. If the canal is not clean, the eardrum can become completely blocked, greatly reducing hearing and eventually cause permanent damage.
One cause of excessive wax buildup is the use of cotton bud.. Sometimes, when you use a cotton bud to clean your ear, you can push wax deeper into the ear canal and partially or completely block it.
Do not try and remove ear wax with cotton swabs, hair pins, or other hard objects. You can damage your ear canal or eardrum.
The purpose of this natural wax is to protect the ear from damage and infections. Normally, a small amount of wax accumulates and then dries up and falls out of the ear canal, carrying with it unwanted dust or sand particles.
Ear wax is helpful to coat the skin of the ear canal where it acts as a temporary water repellent. The absence of ear wax may result in dry, itchy ears, and even infection.
When wax has accumulated so much that it blocks the ear canal (and interferes with hearing), See an ENT doctor , he may have to wash it out (syringing) or suctioning it, or remove it with special instruments. Alternatively, he may prescribe ear drops that are designed to soften the wax like otorex, or sodium bicarbonate ear drops or simple baby olive oil.
2-Cleaning Baby\’s ears
Never insert a cotton bud or anything else into your baby’s ear canal; you could easily puncture the eardrum. Earwax is nature’s protection for the ear canal, and there’s usually no reason to try to get it out of your baby’s ears.
If you’re concerned about a buildup of earwax, ask your baby’s doctor, better an ENT doctor, about it. If there’s so much wax that the doctor can’t see the eardrum, doctor will remove it. Otherwise, it will come out on its own eventually, and sticking a cotton swab in there is likely to push it in farther.
Instead, simply clean the outer part of your baby’s ears with a cotton swab moistened with oil or a washcloth moistened with warm water.
Things to remember while giving bath to babies-
Use boiled and clean water, only clean the out side ear, don\’t use any cotton buds to clean the ear canal. Use a washcloth to wipe the outer part of your baby’s ears, but not inside. Check behind each ear, and wipe away any dirt or debris.
Fungus infection is very common in new born, if special care is not taken while giving bath. If fungus in the ear, baby may be keep pulling the ear, irritable and may cry with pain.
Only an ENT doctor can clean the tiny ear canal with special instruments using otoscope or microscope. Make sure the baby is “mummified” in a towel to keep the baby immobile while cleaning.
Ear piercing is a religious and cultural tradition practiced extensively in our country. Traditionally, a baby\’s ears are pierced in the first year itself. It can be done once the ear lobe is well formed. It is best to avoid people who do not have proper equipment or staff trained to pierce your baby\’s ears. It is important that the piercing is done in hygienic conditions. Ear piercing guns are popular and commonly used. The piercing is done at centre of the ear lobe, avoiding the nerve and cartilage. The studs can be removed after 2 weeks and gold stud can be put. Use antibiotic ointment on the ear lobe before and after bath.
4-Insects in the ear
First of all, DO NOT use putting cotton bud, tweezers, bobby pin, or any other such “tools” in your ear. That would be like asking for something much worse to happen to you.
Put several drops of hydrogen peroxide in the ear, let it stay till it does the bubbling thing, and then drain on a folded solid color washcloth, preferably a white or light color. Check washcloth to see if insect came out. You may have to do this several times.
If needed, follow this with a few drops of mineral oil or baby oil, using same procedure as with h. peroxide.
Repeat the process in 30 minutes if you did not have success first time.
If still not successful go to the doctor.
5. Ear infection-
Although ear infection is more common in all age groups. Otitis media is the most commonly seen ear infection. It is also known as middle ear infection. It causes an inflammation of the middle ear. When the bacterial or viral infections causing colds, sore throat and other breathing or respiratory problems spread to the middle ear, it results in the ear inflammation of middle ear.
Fungus in the ear
Fungus in the ear also known a swimmer\’s ear or outer ear infection is another type of ear infection found in adults. It is common after swimming in chlorinated water. It causes severe itching and pain.
Avoid water getting in the ear and use ear plugs while swimming
6. Avoiding ear ache before flying
Don\’t fly with a cold.
Pain in one or both ears at times can be severe. Feeling of pressure in the ears
Hearing loss, Sensation of fullness or stuffiness in the ears and dizziness
Nosebleed also can occur.
Nasal decongestants or antihistamines may be used before flying. Try to avoid altitude changes during upper respiratory infections or attacks of allergies.
Use decongestant Nasal drops half an hour before take off and landing. A decongestant tablet taken before flying also help.
The inner ear is and brain dysfunction can cause vertigo
Vertigo (giddiness or dizziness) is the feeling that you or your environment is moving or spinning. When you feel as if you yourself are moving, it\’s called subjective vertigo, and the perception that your surroundings are moving is called objective vertigo.
Common causes of vertigo
and Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
and inflammation within the inner ear -labyrinthitis,
and Meniere\’s disease
and Acoustic neuroma is a type of tumor on the 8th cranial nerve-rare
and brain hemorrhage.
and Migraine, a severe form of headache, may also cause vertigo.
If symptoms persist, it should be investigated, after detailed medical history, full ENT, Neurological examination followed by Audiogram CT scan or MRI is needed.
8. Noises in the ear
Tinnitus is a ringing, swishing, or other type of noise that seems to originate in the ear or head.
Tinnitus has sometimes been described as â€˜the sound of silence\’ because all people, if they are seated in a completely quiet soundproofed room, will hear a type of rushing or hissing sound. Usually this noise is masked by environmental sounds. Hearing words, songs or voices is not included in the definition of tinnitus.
One of the most common causes of tinnitus is damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear. Advancing age is generally accompanied by a certain amount of hearing nerve impairment, and consequently tinnitus.
These days loud noise exposure is a very common cause of tinnitus, and it often damages hearing as well. Unfortunately, many people are unconcerned about the harmful effects of excessively loud noise, firearms, and high intensity music, mobile phones etc.
Some medications like aspirin and other diseases of the inner ear Meniere\’s syndrome can cause tinnitus. Tinnitus can in very rare situations be a symptom of such serious problems as an aneurysm or a brain tumor (Acoustic Neuroma).
9. Hearing loss-remedies
If any treatable cause like wax removal, surgery to repair the ear drum and removing infections from middle ear can restore hearing.
But if it is nerve deafness, the best things currently available are hearing aids, and cochlear implants.
Do a hearing test in kids if they had Common childhood diseases such as mumps, measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough, or any high fever which can leave permanent hearing impairment. Always have your child’s hearing tested if he/she has had any of these conditions in addition to regular ear care.
10. Hazards of mobile phones
People using mobile phones for long periods are at risk of developing hearing loss particularly at higher speech frequencies. This hearing loss will be more in the dominant ear Presence of fullness in the ears, ear warmth, strange noises(tinnitus) in the ear are warning signals which should not be ignored
High frequency hearing loss is characterized by the loss of ability to hear consonants such as s, f, t, and z, even though vowels can be heard normally. Consequently, people hear sounds but cannot make out what is being said. red.
The dangers are more in youngsters who use the cellphone many hrs a day.
“Use cell phones when absolutely necessary.”