Hear! Hear! Before It’s Too Late …
While exposure to loud noise (most commonly known cause) can damage the ears, foreign objects or sudden blows can also damage the eardrum, resulting in temporary, or in some cases, permanent loss of hearing.
Causes And Prevention Of Ear Damage
One of the most common causes of ruptured eardrum and other ear damage is inserting a foreign object into the ear. Use of earbud to clean the wax, or to relieve an itch is not advisable, it is best to leave earwax alone. It traps dust, bacteria, and other particles that might cause injury, irritation, or infection. Normal jaw movements, such as eating and talking push wax to the outer ear, where you can easily remove it by wiping with a damp piece of cotton. Do not use over-the-counter drops to soften wax and if it is really bothering you, have a doctor remove it for you.
Another important cause of hearing damage is loud noise which damages the sensitive, tiny hair cells in the inner ear. Certain conditions can make these hair cells even more sensitive than usual. During aerobic exercise our blood diverts from our ears to our legs, arms, and heart. This altered blood flow makes the hair cells more vulnerable to noise. Thus, many fitness experts warn that you double your risk of permanent hearing loss when you jog while wearing headphones with loud music, or dance to blaring music at a rock concert.
The solution is obvious: Stop the noise and use protective devices including acoustic earplugs or muffs.
Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa)
This condition occurs when bacteria accumulate in the outer ear canal that is warm and moist. Being in the water a lot also tends to wash away the natural oily, waxy layer that normally lines and protects the ear canal, allowing bacteria to thrive and cause infection. Poking around with a bobby pin or cotton-tipped swab can scratch the delicate skin in the ear canal and break down the barrier against bacteria, resulting in an outer ear canal infection also called otitis externa. Avoid scratching which will make the problem worse. To prevent infection dry the water in you ear and shake the water out after a shower or swim. The best way to dry the ear is to roll the corner of a soft cotton handkerchief and use it to mop the canal.
Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
Middle-ear infection (known medically as otitis media) is the most common illness in babies and young children. The outer ear is connected to an air-containing space called the middle ear. The air pressure in the middle ear is equalized more than one thousand times a day, every time you swallow, through the eustachian tube, which also carries fluid way from the middle ear.
Due to a cold or an allergy, the eustachian tube swells and air is absorbed by the lining of the middle ear, creating a partial vacuum, and fluid seeps from the lining of the middle ear. Bacteria or viruses infect the stagnant, warm fluid in the middle ear.
There are a a number of ways to prevent infection viz keep your child away from other kids who have infections,take care of nasal allergies and teach your child to blow the nose gently.Do not expose your child to cigarette smoke and 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 breeding ground for infectious organisms. Instead, prop the child’s head up on pillows.
Earphones, Headphones and Cellphones!
Sound over 140dB can cause pain, and prolonged exposure to noise over 85-90dB can result in permanent hearing loss. There are certain preliminary studies that say that people who use cellphones for more than an hour can develop hearing loss in the long term.
If you experience fullness or warmth in the ear where the phone is constantly used, it is probably time for a checkup with your doctor!