Basic Ear Care
At Texas Sinus and Snoring, we know many people suffer from problems related to their ears.
Ear wax is a problem many people deal with and sometimes there are easy solutions. Ears are built incredibly well and the ear canal, believe it or not, is self-cleaning. The way the hairs are oriented and the way the skin migrates naturally cleans your ears.
You will have problems if you do something to get in the way of the normal function of your ears- like using Q-tips or anything else that can fit in your ear canals. This will actually push wax further into your canals and cause a block up. Block ups can lead to muffled hearing, ear pressure, and sometimes even ear pain. If the block up is severe, you may need an ENT to clean it out, but one simple solution that I like to suggest for my patients, is to use olive oil to moisten the wax. This helps the wax soften and the ear canal start to do it’s own cleaning again. I suggest if you have problems with ear wax, use normal kitchen olive oil (just a few drops) in your ears every week to avoid a buildup of wax.
Another problem many people face, especially as they get older, is hearing loss. It is normal to have some change in your hearing with age, but certain factors (like loud music or noise at work) can lead to faster and more severe hearing loss.
It is incredible how isolated people start to feel if they are unable to hear the fine details in the conversations around them that they used to hear. Hearing aids are a wonderful solution that have helped many people.
Hearing loss is not always so simple as there are rare causes that may require further workup or even surgery. This is why it is important to have a true expert take a look and make sure that your ears are healthy and that hearing aids really are the best solution to your hearing problem.
Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, is much more common than most people realize. 80% of people will, at some point in their life, experience tinnitus. This can be very annoying and distracting, making it difficult to focus on normal tasks.
There are many different causes of ringing in the ears, but the most common (and sometimes the most treatable) is hearing loss. The brain was accustomed to getting a signal from the ear; as hearing declines, the signal becomes weaker. The brain doesn’t know what to do about this and, therefore, it makes up its own substitute sound, the ringing. Tinnitus is a compensatory mechanism from your brain trying to explain why it isn’t getting the same signal it used to get.
Stress, depression, and anxiety are also strongly linked with ear ringing. Finding ways to relax and take a break from your hectic life may actually help your tinnitus. There are some simple solutions to help you including a white noise generator at night if the ringing is keeping you awake. There is no medication that has actually been shown to help with ear ringing despite all of the TV and internet claims. If it is bothering you, though, you should see an ENT to make sure that you haven’t lost any hearing. Tinnitus may go away with hearing aids if hearing loss is the cause. All in all, ringing in the ears is a very difficult problem to treat because it is a noise not made by the ear itself, but by the brain.
Ears are an integral part of our sensory system. Let’s give them the respect they deserve. Hear Hear.