|Posted on June 21, 2010 at 5:53 PM|
By Dr Sonia Suprabha Venugopal, ENT Specialist Bangalore
Ear Care Tips-Tips for Healthy ears
It is so true that we don’t appreciate what we have till we lose it! Taking care of our ears doesn’t require much effort but can be rewarding in the long run. The following are some tips for healthy ears which in turn help maintain well preserved hearing and balance
1. Do not injudiciously use earbuds in your ears!
Using earbuds in the ear canal can push the wax deeper into the canal creating even more difficult removal, scratch the canal with resulting infection, tear the skin of the canal with bleeding, or even perforate or tear the ear drum. The wax pushed in deep can affect the vibration of the ear drum or produce complete blockade leading to hearing loss, ringing in ears, dizziness and even infection.
Cerumen [ear wax] is natural, lubricates the ear canal, catches dirt particles, and naturally moves itself and collected debris to the outside. To clean wax from your ears gently remove it with a thin clean cloth wrapped around your little finger. Over the counter wax dissolvents should only be used once your doctor has ruled out a perforation of the ear drum.
See article on Ear buds and you
See article on Ear wax
2. Sound Protection
• Avoid exposure to loud sound
• Exposure to loud sound has the potential to produce permanent hearing damage
• Avoid loud firecrackers
• Avoid being in premises of loud machinery
• Avoid loud music-keep the volume down!
• Do not use headphones for long periods-keep at low volumes if using them at all
• Do not keep the volume of your mobile phone ear piece high[especially take care if you are using a hands free mode]
• If you keep the ring volume of your mobile loud do not take the ringing phone close to your ears-press the answer button to stop the ring before you put the phone near your ears.
• Always make sure children are adequately protected- always screen children’s' toys for loud noises .Some toy sirens and squeaky rubber toys can emit sounds of 90 decibels (dB)[factory workers exposed to same sound levels actually have to wear ear protection!]When held directly to the ear, as children often do, a noisy toy actually exposes the ear to as much as 120 dB of sound, a damaging dose—the equivalent of a jet plane taking off. Noise at this level can result in permanent hearing loss
• Wear adequate ear protection when exposed to loud sounds
3. Never pour home remedies such as oil into the ears for any condition whatsoever.
In the presence of infection or a perforated ear drum this can inflict permanent damage to the ear.
4. Do not insert sharp objects into the ears to relieve that itch!
You may be surprised how often 'accidents' occur ending in injury to the ear canal and ear drum!
Sternly forbid children from inserting any object into their ears.
In case your child has inadvertently inserted some object into the ears try tilting the head so that the ear faces down. Do not attempt removing the object on your own as you may push it in further or your child may move producing grievous injury. Always seek a professional ENT surgeon's help since atraumatic removal often requires special otologic microinstruments and the first attempt is the best attempt.
5. Precautions when Swimming
Do not swim in murky waters as it can lead to infection.
Do not swim when you have an outer ear infection
Alwys get clearance from your ENT doctor before swimming if you are recovering from an ear infection
6. Do not ignore the ringing or buzzing you hear in your ears [called tinnitus].
It may be due to high blood pressure [get your BP checked], hearing loss, middle ear disease or nerve or blood vessel tumour. Tinnitus evaluation entails a detailed history and complete head and neck examination by an ENT surgeon. In certain cases investigations may be needed to clinch the diagnosis.
See article on Tinnitus
7. Never ignore ear infection in children as inadequately and inappropriately treated it can produce long term sequelae.Your child may also need careful follow up by an ENT surgeon and vigilance on your part for picking up a suboptimal hearing capacity in your child. See- could your child be suffering from hearing loss
A discharging ear should not be neglected. Hearing and balance can be seriously affected if not adequately diagnosed and treated. Ear discharge may be due to dangerous bone eroding disease called cholesteatoma which can produce life threatening complications such as brain infection, convulsions [fits],facial paralysis etc.
8. Ear pain need not be due to ear disease. It can also occur in conditions of the TM joint [joint of jaw], infection in nose, sinuses or throat, cancer in throat etc. A thorough ENT and head and neck examination is required in such cases.
9. Be extra vigilant and careful if you are an "at risk" individual.
Persons with following are at increased risk for otologic/hearing problems
• Family history of hearing loss
• Exposed to loud noises at home/work environment
• Long standing disease in nose[allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, polyps etc]
• Diabetics- they are especially prone to infections of the ear
Dr Sonia Suprabha Venugopal
MBBS MS ENT[AIIMS]
Consultant ENT & Head & Neck Surgery
Location: BANGALORE:Sadashivnagar,Sahakaranagar,RT Nagar,Hebbal
ENT Specialist Bangalore