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Ear Related Problems > Deafness: Prevention of Ear Related Disorders

Neglect has often led to serious consequences like deafness. The ear is not only an organ of hearing, but plays a very important role in maintaining the physical balance of the body. The most common ear ailments are accumulation of wax, otitis externa, otitis media (hole or perforation in the eardrum), secretory otitis media or glue ear (fluid behind the drum nerve), presbyacusis (deafness in old age along with discharge from the ear), itching in the ear, pain in the ear, deafness.

Our day to day functioning would get considerably hampered if we lose even one of our five senses. Even then, we pretty much take them for granted. When it comes to maintaining them i.e. sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste, we often pay no heed to their maintenance. The major reason for deterioration or loss of the senses is the improper or no maintenance of the sensory organs.

 

The ear consists of three parts, the outer, the middle and the inner ear. The outer ear consists of the pinna that leads into the ear canal that is about one inch long in adults and ends at the eardrum. The eardrum separates the outer ear from the middle ear. The middle ear is a small cavity between the eardrum and the inner ear (that conducts sounds to the middle ear) and includes the Eustachian tube and eardrum. The outer and middle ear are concerned primarily with the collection and transmission of sound. The inner ear is an intricate series of structures contained deep within the bones of the skull. It is mainly concerned with hearing. The most common ear ailments are accumulation of wax, otitis externa, otitis media (hole or perforation in the eardrum), secretory otitis media or glue ear (fluid behind the drum nerve), presbyacusis (deafness in old age along with discharge from the ear), itching in the ear, pain in the ear, deafness.

 

The number of cases of ear problems have been steadily increasing. This could be attributed to the fact the more and more people are becoming aware of ear related disorders. In the past, people have avoided going to a doctor unless pain became unbearable. They would rather prefer trying home remedies. But this has lead to serious problems. At an average, 15-20 percent patients come with the common problem of discharge from the ear. But it has been noticed that otitis externa is a more common disorder in high and middle socio-economic class. In the lower income families, otitis media or perforation in the drum is a common disorder.

 

Sharing of headphones should be avoided. If hygiene is not maintained, it can lead to ear infections. Continous use of headphones causes temporary damage and also at times permanent damage to the ear. Hands free, a common accessory with mobiles today, should also be avoided as far as possible. It has been noticed that many people put on the hands free throughout the day that is a major health hazard and should be avoided.

 

Ear cleaning is strictly prohibited in infants. Ear canal in children is small so it should never be cleaned with buds. It is very important that after feeding an infant should not be made to lie down. Sometimes, when a child burps after milk, residual milk goes into the Eustachian tube and cause otitis media. To prevent this, the child should be kept in the lap erect till the child burps. If the child vomits while lying down, fluid would enter into the canal that is connected from nose to the ear. Prevent prolonged cold and cough as this leads to secretory otitis media or glue ear.

 

While swimming, taking head shower the water gets in the ear canal, bringing in the  bacterial or fungal particles. Then bacteria and fungi grow, flourish, and can infect the outer ear. If it is a frequently recurring problem, you should consult your otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) who would recommend you the correct preventive measures. If the foreign objects get trapped inside the ear, taking them out is a delicate task and should be performed by the doctor.

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