Cleaning your ears
. Clean your ears with extra care. Wipe the outer ear with a washcloth or tissue. Do not put anything into your ear smaller than your elbow. Do not use Q tips, bobby pins or sharp pointed objects to clean your ears. These objects may injure the ear canal or eardrum.Earwax is the ears mechanism for self cleaning. If you have a build-up of wax that is blocking your hearing, see your doctor to have it removed.If you experience itching or pain in your
Illness and Medications
. Reduce the risk of ear infections by treating upper respiratory (ears, nose, throat) infections promptly.Some illnesses and medical conditions can affect your hearing. If you experience sudden hearing loss or have constant noise in your ears or head, see an ear doctor promptly.Drainage from the ear is not normal and usually suggests infection. See your doctor as soon as possible.Some medications can affect hearing. Take medications only as direct
. At home or work, wear hearing protection during exposure to loud levels of noise. This includes mowing the lawn, leaf blowing or using power tools. By law, a noisy work environment requires use of hearing protection. Hunting shops and some garden centers carry ear-protecting headgear.Ear buds, such as those that come with an IPOD or MP3 player, do not protect your hearing. lso,listening to music while using power tools is dangerous to your hearin
. Always wear a helmet when you bike, ski, and roller blade or in any other activity that puts you at risk for head and ear injuries.If you scuba dive, learn and practice proper underwater techniques to avoid potentially damaging changes in pressure inside your ears.When flying in an airplane, swallow and yawn frequently when the plane is ascending and descending to equalize pressure in your ears. If you have an upper respiratory problem such as a
. Have your ears checked regularly by your primary care physician. Have your hearing checked by an audiologist if you or anyone else questions whether your hearing is normal. Consult an ear physician as necessary.When outdoors in sunny weather, remember to use a sunscreen on your ears.If you notice unusual bumps or scaly areas on the exterior ear, consult your physician.Know the warning signs of hearing loss:Difficulty hearing conversations, espec
Protecting Your Ears
. Everyone knows that loud noises can damage your ears, but there are many other ways to injure the delicate mechanisms that allow us to hear. Foreign objects or sudden blows to the ear can damage the eardrum, resulting in temporary or, in some cases, permanent hearing loss. In this section, we tell you how to avoid the common mistakes people make that damage their ears and we will tell you the best ways to cope with loud noises. We will also tell
Preventing Ear Problems
. Aside from making sure you dont puncture your eardrum with a foreign object, there are other steps you need to take to prevent some common ear problems. One common ear nuisance is swimmers ear. This is a condition that can result when bacteria grow inside the ear canal, and it can be quite painful. We will tell you how to prevent and treat this infection. We will also tell you the day-to-day maintenance you need to do for your ears to keep them h
. Anyone with small children is probably well versed in middle ear infections. Ear infections are the most common illness in infants and small children. While adults do get ear infections, they are much more serious for children. This is partly because they are much more apt to get them, and partly because the symptoms can be more severe for children. In this section, we will give you some tips for preventing your child from getting middle ear infe
. The ear infections and damage to the ear from excessively loud noises that we mentioned in the previous sections are usually only temporary ear problems. However, some simple ear inconveniences can result serious, lasting disorders. Deafness, a lack of balance, and a constant ringing in the ears are all signs of serious problems. In this section, we give a guide to the various ear disorders and how to treat them. We will also tell you how you ca
. Because we cant see our ears inner workings as they transmit sound waves to our brain, we forget our ears can be vulnerable to injury. For instance, a slap on the ear or an injury while diving could cause a ruptured eardrum, the thin membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.But one of the most common causes of ruptured eardrum and other ear damage is putting an object into the ear. All too often, people do this because they think
. Being close to an explosion can leave you deaf instantly. Other acoustical damage, however, leads to hearing loss that comes on more slowly.We live in an age when acoustical trauma injury from sound abounds, and we often dont even realize the potential for harm. It begins early in life. Studies have shown that as many as 60 percent of entering college freshmen already display some hearing loss. Much of that may be due to whats come to be comm
. Warm, sunny days on the beach are fun. Coping with swimmers ear is not nor is it inevitable. Swimmers ear (called otitis externa) is an infection of the outer ear canal, usually caused by common bacteria, sometimes by a fungus. The condition can crop up when bacteria nestle into an outer ear canal that is warm and moist conditions bacteria love. Being in the water a lot not only creates those conditions, but it tends to wash away the natural
. Most people only get their ears checked when theyre bothered by them. There may be nothing wrong with that. Hard and fast rules dont exist on how often to get a hearing exam, but there are a couple points to keep in mind.
Steer your child clear
. Since middle-ear infections generally start with a cold or other upper respiratory infection, youll help protect your child from ear infections by keeping him or her away from other kids who have infections. Making sure that any nasal allergies that your child has are well controlled can also be beneficial. And if you are in the process of choosing a day-care facility for your child, check into the centers policy for dealing with children who are
Teach proper nose blowing technique
. Once your child is old enough, teach him or her to blow his or her nose softly rather than with excessive force, so as not to drive infection into the ears. And teach your child not to stifle a sneeze by pinching the nostrils, since this, too, may force the infection up into the ears.
. Heres another reason not to smoke: Children who live with smokers seem to be more susceptible to middle-ear infections than are those who live in smokefree homes. Cigarette smoke irritates the linings of the nasal passages and middle-ear cavity, which in turn interferes with the normal functioning of the eustachian tube. If you cannot quit, at least take your habit outside.
Be careful with bottle feeding
. Avoid giving a bottle of milk or formula to a baby who is lying on his or her back, because the nutrient-rich liquid can flow into the eustachian tube during swallowing and pool there, creating a luxurious breeding ground for infectious organisms.
Stay alert to the signs
. It is essential to get your child to the doctor as soon as you suspect an ear infection, but to do that, you need to be aware of the symptoms that can signal an ear infection. An older child who has an ear infection may complain of ear pain or aching or a stuffiness in the ear. In a younger child who cannot yet describe an earache, you need to be alert to other signs that may signal an imminent ear infection, such as pulling on or rubbing the ear
Treating an Ear Infection
. If you suspect your child has an ear infection, you should take the child to the doctor at once. If a middle-ear infection is treated promptly, it is not serious. If not treated right away, your child might suffer hearing loss and, as a result, a delay in learning and speech development. Once your child has seen the doctor, however, there are some things you can do to help make your little one more comfortable.
Follow through on the doctors instructions
. Your job doesnt end with a visit to the doctor. You will need to be sure that your child receives any medication prescribed by the doctor. Be sure, too, that you understand and follow the directions for administering the medicine (call your doctor or pharmacist with any questions). If an antibiotic has been prescribed, its especially important that your child take the medication for the full time prescribed.
. Try giving your child acetaminophen to help relieve pain and fever. Do not, however, give your child aspirin. Aspirin use in children with a viral illness has been associated with Reyes syndrome, an often fatal condition characterized by severe, sudden deterioration of liver and brain function. For a list of precautions to take when using over-the-counter analgesics,Weve covered most of the ear difficulties you will encounter, but there are more
. Severe dizziness or vertigo a sensation that the room is spinning is scary and can stir worries that something is dreadfully wrong. If it happens to you, you should see a doctor immediately. Its possible that the root of your problem is labyrinthitis, an infection of the labyrinth a group of fluid-filled chambers in the inner ear. The labyrinth controls balance. Even though the vertigo will make it extremely difficult for you to function, t
Deafness and Hearing Loss
. Hearing loss falls into two categories: conductive, which involves sound transmission abnormalities in the middle and outer ear, and sensorineural, which involves the inner ear. Conductive loss can usually be corrected; sensorineural is much more difficult to treat. Conductive hearing loss might result, for example, when impacted earwax prevents sounds from reaching the inner ear, where sounds are translated into electric nerve impulses that are
The Facts on Earwax
. You might wonder about earwax and whether it needs to be cleaned out. Actually, even though earwax seems yucky, it serves a purpose. Your ear canal makes earwax to protect the ear. After it is produced, it slowly makes its way to the opening of the ear. Then it either falls out or is removed when you wash. If you want, you can clean the opening of your ear gently with a washcloth. Theres an old saying that you shouldnt put anything smaller than y
Taking Care of Pierced Ears
. Pierced ears may look pretty, but you need to take good care of them or things can get ugly! When you first get your ears pierced, leave the earrings in until your ears are completely healed. If you dont, your holes could close up. Youll also want to prevent infections in your newly pierced ears. Wash your hands before touching your pierced ears. Applying rubbing alcohol also can help keep germs away. With an adults help, soak a cotton ball in ru
Tips for Swimmers
. Sometimes, swimming can lead to a case of swimmers ear. Thats when your outer ear gets infected, causing swelling and pain. This happens when water gets stuck in your ear canal. This can irritate the skin, making it easier for bacteria to invade the skin and cause an infection. If you think you have swimmers ear, your mom or dad needs to call the doctor. Special ear drops can help you get rid of it.To prevent swimmers ear, dry your ears after swi
Ears Hot and Cold
. Now you know how to keep your ears happy underwater, but what about when its hot outside? When the sun is beating down, wear a hat or remember to rub some sunscreen on your ears, so they dont get fried. And when winter rolls around, keep them covered up with a hat or headband. Why? Because when its freezing outside, its easy for ears to get frostbitten.
. he skin on the outer part of the ear canal has special glands that produce ear wax, also known as cerumen. 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
ear wax look
. Cerumen varies in form and appearance from person to person. It may be almost liquid, firm and solid, or dry and flaky. The color of ear wax varies depending upon its composition. Glandular secretions, sloughed skin cells, normal bacteria present on the surface of the canal, and water may all be present in ear wax.
Loud noise and hearing loss
. It is a mistake to believe that only noises loud enough to cause earache are capable of causing damage. The inner ear can still be harmed by noise, even when it doesnt send you a pain signal. A rule of thumb is that if you need to shout to be heard over the noise, its potentially damaging. Suggestions on how to protect your ears from noise include Avoid exposure to noise when you can. Consult with your occupational health and safety officer a
Ototoxic drugs and chemicals
. Ototoxicity is damage to the ear caused by drugs or chemicals. Drugs that are thought to cause hearing loss include drugs for malaria (quinine and chloroquine) and salicylates like aspirin, but the hearing loss is believed to be temporary. Certain industrial chemicals, such as solvents, are also implicated in hearing damage.Suggestions to avoid drug-related hearing damage include:Discuss concerns about medications with your doctor.Take medication
Diseases and hearing loss
. Hearing loss can be caused by viral diseases including mumps, measles, pertussis (whooping cough) and rubella (German measles). These types of infections are more common in childhood, although adults who havent been immunised and didnt have the diseases in childhood may catch them too.Bacterial diseases, such as meningitis and syphilis, can also target and harm the ears. A tumour which grows on the hearing nerve, called an
Injury and hearing
. The middle and inner ears are protected by the temporal bones, located at the base and sides of the skull. Head injury that involves trauma to the temporal bones can cause hearing loss. Concussion may be enough to cause hearing damage, even if the skull bones arent broken.Otitic barotrauma refers to hearing damage caused by changes in air pressure on either side of the eardrum. This can be caused by descending or ascending through water too quick
Watch the volume when using earbuds or headphones
. Personal, portable electronics have led to people playing more audio, at louder volumes, for extended periods of time. This is the biggest concern today, says Dr. Alexiades. People dont realize how loud their devices are, especially when they are turning up the volume to combat background noise. To avoid hearing damage, Dr. Alexiades recommends setting the volume while inside and leaving it there. Noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones that block
Be aware of loud environmental noise
. New York City is easily one of the noisiest places in the country, with crowd, traffic and subway noise exposing residents to decibel levels that can damage hearing over time. Research has shown that noise levels in the city often reach higher than 70 decibels, which is the sound of a normal conversation at 3-5 feet. A subway train at 200 feet is 95 decibels, and an emergency vehicle siren could be more than 110 decibels. When exposed to particul
Dont put cotton swabs into your ear canals
. Everyone loves Q-Tips and most people think theyre made for the ears, but theyre not, Dr. Alexiades says. Contrary to popular belief, the ear is self-cleaning and the presence of earwax is actually a good thing. Wax is normal. Its the sign of a healthy ear, Dr. Alexiades says. Even though people may think they are cleaning their ears with cotton swabs, they are likely pushing wax further in. Whats more dangerous is the swabs also scrape natural o
Check the ingredients in your shampoo
. This tip is less common, but it could help you avoid discomfort and discourage you from scratching your ear canal. Watch out for shampoo that contains methylparabens, Dr. Alexiades says. Shampoos that have those tend to be very drying and irritating to the ear canal, and can cause itchiness. Avoid getting shampoo in your ear canal, or switch shampoos. If you follow this advice and your ears still itch, allergies could be the culprit, so check wit
Get regular ear and hearing checkups
. As you age, you will need a baseline hearing test so that you can start to measure and deal with any hearing loss that may be happening. Its also good to have your ears physically examined to make sure theres no wax build-up. Not everyone needs cleanings. Some people need them every few months, while others may need them just once in a lifetime, Dr. Alexiades says. People with hairy or narrow ear canals can be predisposed to wax build up.