For someone suffering from Tinnitus, a perpetual sense of ringing in the ears is the main complaint. It’s annoying, to say the least. But more importantly, it is a sign of hearing loss. This is why people need to see an audiologist if he/she has a sense of tinnitus for some time. An audiologist can treat this problem in different ways.
The first step in treating tinnitus like any other disease involves determining the cause. The doctor may perform different tests such as-Hearing:
During this test, one needs to sit in a soundproof room and wear earphones. Specific sounds will be played into the ears, one at a time, through these earphones. People have to indicate when they hear different intensities of sound. The results are compared with empirical results for comparable age. This helps the audiologist identify possible or rule out specific causes.
One may need to clench the jaw, move the eyes or neck, or even move the arms and legs as part of the test. If tinnitus symptoms get better or worse at any of these postures, the audiologist can identify the underlying disorder.
The doctor may suggest an MRI or CT depending on his suspicions.
Treatment involves identifying an underlying problem, if any. If the tinnitus symptoms are due to some health conditions, the audiologist may take the following steps:
Clearing the Earwax
Impacted earwax can cause a variety of problems, including tinnitus symptoms. An audiologist can remove the ear wax.
Treating Vascular Conditions
Underlying vascular problems that require surgery or any other treatment may treat the condition.
Tinnitus can also be a side effect of medication. If the doctor suspects that he may recommend reducing or stopping the drug completely. He may also recommend a different medication.
If there is no underlying health condition or medication responsible for tinnitus, the doctor may take recourse to noise suppression. The patient may need to wear an electronic noise suppression device. These devices include:
White Noise Devices
These machines produce simulated sounds such as those of ocean waves, falling rain etc. This is often found to be effective in treating tinnitus. He may also recommend using pillow speakers, fans, dehumidifiers, air conditioners and humidifiers to suppress internal noise at night.
If a hearing problem is associated with tinnitus, the audiologist may prescribe hearing aid.
Such devices mask the internal sounds of tinnitus and are worn in the ear in a similar fashion as hearing aids.
This device delivers programmed music to mask the sound of tinnitus. This technique usually helps the patient get accustomed to the sound of tinnitus.
Depending on diagnosis and findings, audiologists may also recommend medicines. Audiologists use medicines usually for severe tinnitus only, since these may have side effects. It may also help reduce symptoms.
When you travel in an airplane or just come out of the swimming pool, your ears may sometimes block up and even be painful. This is what is known ear barotrauma and is caused by pressure differences inside and outside the ear drum. Severe cases may cause damage to the ear and impede your hearing.
Symptoms of ear barotrauma
Ear barotrauma usually occurs when the Eustachian tube is blocked due to differences in air pressure. The Eustachian tube is a long narrow tube that runs from the middle of your ear to the pharynx or the back of the throat and is thus very important in relevance to the ear, nose and throat. Thus ear barotrauma can also translate to pain in the ear and throat as well.
Some of the symptoms are:
1. Discomfort in the ear, or aggravated pain in extreme cases
3. The ears being blocked or full, in severe cases may feel like being underwater
4. Temporary hearing loss
5. Nose bleeding in severe cases
6. Health care providers may see an inward caving or outward bulging in the ear drum. In severe cases, the ear drum may look bruised as well.
7. Some severe cases may even exhibit signs typical of an ear infection along with some of the other symptoms mentioned above.
Precautions and self treatment
There are certain steps you can take to either prevent barotrauma or reduce the symptoms. These are:
Yawning or gulping - This is very helpful when air pressure differences are caused in cases of travelling by aircraft.
1. Inhale slowly and then exhale while your mouth is closed and you are holding your nostrils closed by fingers - This will help increase the pressure within the tube to try and open it forcefully.
2. Sucking on candy - This is another way to prevent barotraumas as you are constantly swallowing and keeping your Eustachian tube from being blocked in the first place.
3. Keep a few Chewing gums handy - Chewing gums also has similar effects on your ears as it forces the Eustachian tube to remain open despite pressure differences.
4. After diving or swimming, come out of the water slowly - Scuba divers and deep swimmers need to come up slowly to ensure that the Eustachian tube is given enough time to acclimatize and slowly come back to normal.
Usually, ear barotrauma goes away automatically after sometime and no medications are required. However, if symptoms still persist, it is best to go to a relevant doctor or a health care provider for pain relief and long term solutions.
There is a strong connection between the ears, nose and throat, as any ENT or Ear Nose Throat specialist will be able to tell you. When there is any kind of congestion or obstruction in the nasal passages, one can also feel some effect in the ears with the symptoms going from mild to severe.
- The Connection: To begin with, let us understand the connection between the ears and the nose. There is an opening that can be found in the back of the nose, which leads into a tunnel called the Eustachian Tube. This tube goes into the ears and creates some amount of pressure when the nasal passages get blocked. This pressure can be felt as clogging of the ears and can usually be eradicated with the help of a pop in the ears. This pop can be brought about by pinching your nose and trying to breathe, or even yawning hard or indulging in some gulping or swallowing motion as well.
- Mucosal Swelling: The swelling within the patient's nose usually points at the build up of mucus which can make the nasal lining thicker, thus making the act of breathing that much more laboured and difficult. This obstructs the nasal tract, in plain and simple terms. This swelling usually spreads to the tunnel or the Eustachian Tube, which can become swollen and even shut, consequently leading to a feeling of having clogged ears.
- Negative Nasal Pressure: When the pressure inside the nose is built up in a negative way due to the obstruction that makes the patient breathe even harder, then the ears end up taking the pressure. This makes them clogged. This negative pressure usually manifests in the back of the nose where the Eustachian Tube is located, which creates a build up in the ears as well. This can also lead to a ringing pain when a patient tries to suck in air too hard due to the obstruction.
- Bernoulli's Principle: If we are to incorporate air in place of fluid and liken the action of breathing with an obstructed nose, with the action of sucking fluid in through an obstructed straw, then the fluid dynamics would apply to this case. As per these fluid dynamics, more rapid flow of fluid can lead to decreased pressure on the surrounding areas. This can be applied to the blocked nose where air must pass through faster and with more fluidity so as to ensure that there is less pressure on the ears, which will keep them from getting clogged.
I always tell my patients not to use ear buds. Hearing this they used to ask me two question.
1) then how will we clear our ear wax?
2) then why is this ear buds so commonly available?
I think lybrate is a very good platform to answer those questions so that it also reaches the maximum.
1) clearing of wax is a normal process which happen in our ear canal. Wax is produced by the ceruminous glands in the outer canal. Minimal amount of wax is very much necessary for protection of the inner ear canal and ear drum. It prevents entry of foreign bodies into the ear. When we use ear bud inside the ear what we actually does is that we are pushing the ear wax more in towards the ear drum which makes it difficult for the ear to self cleanse. In that way unnecessary use of ear bud leds to excessive accumulation of wax which in turn causes lots of other ear problems like wax keratosis, otitis externa etc. Secondly the skin inside the ear canal is thinning and more sensitive than the outer skin, when we introduce ear buds into the ear we may be unknowingly causing small wounds called abrasions inside the canal. These wounds may get infected later, usually causing fungal infections called as otomycosis.
2) my answer to the second question is that ear buds are good to clean the outer structures of the ear, especially the pinna. Pinna is a complicated structure with lots of curves and turns. In order to clean these parts ear buds are very much useful. With the peculiar shape and size of the ear bud it's meant for cleaning such difficult areas.
I hope I have conveyed my message and this will at leave save few of my brothers and sisters from conditions like otomycosis, otitis externa, wax keratosis, membrane perforations etc.
Swimmer’s ear is a condition, which is characterized by an infection in the outer ear. This infection usually stems from the water that remains in the ear after swimming, forming a moist environment that allows bacteria to grow and procreate. This condition can also develop if you happen to insert your finger or other foreign objects into the ears.
The symptoms of this disorder are usually mild in the beginning, but may worsen if left untreated. In its germinating stage, this condition exhibits symptoms such as itching in the ears and a watery discharge. If the disorder has progressed to an advanced stage, then the symptoms become slightly different. An intense pain on the particular side of the face, swelling in the ear and blockage of the ear canal are some of the common symptoms. In extreme cases, swelling of the lymph nodes and moderate to high fever can be indicative of this condition.
The causes of swimmer’s ear are bacteria that are found in soil and water. Your ears have a natural defense system against infections; glands in the ear secrete an acidic substance called ‘cerumen’ that kills the bacteria. The ear canal has a downward slope from the middle ear to the outer ear, thus allowing the water to drain out. Swimmer’s ear occurs when these defenses fail to work. This happens when there is excessive moisture in the ear canal, creating an environment for the bacteria to grow. In addition, certain factors such as swimming in dirty water, a narrow ear canal and excessive cleaning of the ear canal can lead to this condition.
The aim of the treatment is to prevent the infection from progressing and allow the ear to heal. The first step is to clean the ear canal so that the eardrops can reach the affected area. Once the ear is cleaned, eardrops are administered to get rid of the bacteria. The various medications that are used in the treatment of swimmer’s ear are:
1. Antibiotics: They are used to combat the bacteria that cause the infection.
2. Acidic solutions: It is used to restore the normal environment in the ear.
3. Steroids: These help in reducing the inflammation.
You may also be prescribed pain medications to treat the pain resulting from this condition. Try to avoid swimming till the condition heals completely. Make sure you aren’t inserting any foreign object in the ears as that may aggravate the situation further.
The body has its own protective mechanisms, and one of these is the ear wax. The skin in the ear produces an oily, waxy substance known as cerumen. This is produced to help protect the ear from the dust and the microorganisms that it is constantly subjected to. What happens is this earwax is naturally removed from the ear as it gets washed away through the ear canal that opens to the outside. However, in some cases, where there is an excessive production of wax, it can harden and cause blockage. Read on to know more about how this ear wax builds up, how it may cause blockage, and how to get rid of it.
Buildup: As noted, the ear wax is a natural protective mechanism to keep dust and bacteria from entering the ear canal which is a very critical organ. The middle ear is responsible for maintaining overall body balance. However, in some people, more wax is produced than what gets removed. Also, due to recurrent use of earphones and ear buds, the wax can get pushed deeper. The earphones also could block the wax from getting out of the ear canal.
Excessive ear wax can lead to the following:
It is important to know that trying to remove ear wax at home should be avoided, as they can push the wax internally and cause more severe problems. These above symptoms could be indicative of various other problems in the ear and so should be immediately attended to by a medical doctor. Those who use hearing aids may also face the problem of excessive wax buildup.
Removal: As mentioned above, removal should not be done at home. This is true especially for young children and elderly.
As the next step, clinical removal may be required. Those who are prone for excessive wax buildup may go for an annual or biannual wax removal. This could include irrigation and use of suction or curette to remove the wax. Ear wax, though not very pleasant, has a role to play in the ear’s health and small amounts of it is beneficial.
Ear wax which is also known as cerumen is produced by the human body for the protection of the ears. Ear wax possesses both antibacterial and lubricating characteristics. Mostly, the existing ear wax is passed via the ear canal by motions such as chewing and various jaw movements. The skin from the canal widens from within. At this time, it extends from outside the ear and peels off. The ear wax is made by the outer lining of the ears.
Ear wax impaction refers to a situation where there is tremendous build-up within the canal of the ears. Such enormous build-up is indicative that something is seriously wrong. Ears are naturally designed in a way that they self-clean. Build-up of ear wax and obstruction often takes place when people make use of cotton swabs and/or bobby pins to clean out the ears. But using ear buds or cotton swabs are contrary to helpful; they push the ear wax further deep inside the ears, sometimes leading to an injury in the process.
When ear wax impaction is left untreated, it may lead to infections. Signs of severity of the impaction include irritation of the ear and loss of hearing. If there is significant accumulation of ear wax in the ear then it might make looking inside the ear troublesome, thereby, a number of issues can go undiagnosed. Of the main signs of ear wax impaction, the four most foreboding signs include:
Other symptoms of earwax impaction include drainage from the canal of the ear, pain in the ear and dizziness.
Upon experiencing the severe signs of earwax impaction or cerumen build-up, the supervising doctor can confirm that you may or may not have a blockage in the ear by looking inside the ear with an ear-scope.
Getting rid of the extra earwax is very easy. Use only cotton swabs to clean out the external region of the ears. In order to soften the consistency of the earwax you can buy certain over-the-counter drops or you can also use substances that are composed of baby oil, and glycerine.
Ear irrigation is another method which you can adopt in order to eliminate the excess earwax. If the patient considering ear irrigation has suffered an injury in the ear or had a medical procedure such as a surgery performed on the ear then he or she should immediately opt out of the idea of ear irrigation. If ear irrigation is performed on an eardrum that has become ruptured then it could lead to infection or loss of hearing. Persons having problem of impacted ear wax should get it cleaned by an ENT specialist every 6 months.
In the ear canal, you have a sebaceous gland, which produces a yellowish material called cerumen or earwax. Apart from cerumen, other dust particles also build up inside the ear like hair, dead cells, dust, and foreign materials. This earwax or cerumen acts as a protective coating on the inner side of the ear. It keeps the ears clean and lubricated all the time by trapping the dirt, repelling water, and much more.
Earwax is acidic in nature and also has antibacterial properties, which help in protecting the ears. Without earwax, your ears will become too dry, infected, and water-clogged as well.
Sometimes, when excessive cerumen is produced by the glands than is necessary, it gets clogged inside the ear and your ears get blocked. It will become too hard for you to clean the ears in a natural way. Even when you are trying to clean or pull out the excess earwax with the help of an earbud, there are chances that you push it deep inside. In some cases, there can be a temporary hearing loss due to excess earwax. In all such cases, visit a doctor immediately to clean off the excess earwax that is accumulated in your ears.
Common reasons for severe earwax buildup:
To get rid of an itching sensation in the ears or to clean the ears, people often use wrong pins or items, which push the earwax further inside. This way, a lot of earwax gets accumulated inside the ears. Similarly, too much use of earplugs can cause severe earwax buildup. You should make sure that you are using the right method for cleaning your ears and you should clean them frequently to avoid buildup of earwax.
Many people face this kind of problem and your doctor will recommend some simple and easy ways to get rid of earwax.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Outer ear infections can be caused by bacteria, virus, or yeast. Also known as swimmer’s ear, as it is very common in swimmers who keep their ears immersed in water for prolonged periods of time. It can also occur when the skin in the outer ear gets infected due to regular use of cotton buds to remove wax. Though it is very common in children, it can be seen in adults too.
The first step in managing an outer ear infection is to identify it.
Do not treat ear infections on your own. The actual agent causing the infection needs to be identified and treated accordingly. A bacterial infection may require a course of antibiotics, a viral one should be watched and allowed to run its course.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal, the passage that carries sounds from the outside of the body to the eardrum. It can be caused by many different types of bacteria or fungi.
Swimmer’s ear is a kind of infection which occurs in the outer ear canal and it results in an infected ear canal, long-term pain and irritation. Swimmer’s ear, as you can understand by the name, is referred in such a way because it is caused by water which is left inside the ear after swimming. The stuck water inside the canal gets damp where bacteria and fungus grows and results in an infection. Now we will discuss what are the causes that can bring such a condition.
Causes of Swimmer’s Ear - There are many reasons because of which people suffer from a swimmer’s ear: The entry of too much water inside the ear canal, leaves a part of it inside the ear which eventually allows bacteria to infest. The overcleaning of the ear canal with cotton buds causes the ear wax to come out which allows water to enter. When cosmetic chemicals like hair spray, enter the ears, it causes a sensitive chemical reaction which can lead to infection. Careless scratching inside the ear can result in small cuts inside the sensitive canal, where bacteria can infest. Swimming in water without covering your ears can also cause this.
So next time when you are swimming or scratching your ear without safety, remember that it can cause a swimmer’s ear. But you may have a question in mind, how will I know if I am suffering from this? We have thus listed the symptoms as well.
Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear-
Constant itching and irritation inside the ear. The pain or itching increases when you pull your year or chew something. There is an acute sensation of blockage inside the ear which is caused because of this condition and results in reduced levels of hearing. Someone suffering from swimmer's ear will have pus or ear fluids draining out from their ears.
Swimmer’s ear condition can be easily prevented if you follow some simple but very effective steps like blocking your ear with buds while swimming, cleaning the ear softly so that no water remains stuck etc. If you neglect any of the symptoms, they can result in a very chronic disease which can even result in hearing loss. So read through our article and understand what Swimmer’s ear is.