See The ENT For Sinusitis

Many annoying respiratory conditions will go away without medical intervention. The old adage, treat a cold and it will last seven to 10 days; don’t treat a cold and it will last a week to a week and a half is true. But there are respiratory conditions where it makes to sense to seek treatment sooner than later. If you see the ENT, or ear, nose and throat doctor, when you first suspect you have sinusitis, the chances of treating the condition improve. Also, the ENT can treat sinusitis and help you prevent subsequent sinusitis episodes.

What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities. These cavities are air-filled spaces in the bones of the head and face. They are very important in the job of delivering filtered and humidified air to your lungs. They are lined with mucus producing membranes. When the lining of these cavities gets inflamed, it is usually from an infection. Commonly these infections will occur after a bout with one of the many cold viruses. Sinusitis is generally a secondary infection. That means it is the result of something else. That “something” may be:

Viral infection
Bacterial infection
Fungal infection
Uncontrolled allergies
Sinusitis may be sudden (comes on quickly and responds to treatment) or chronic (stubborn infection that takes weeks to resolve). Recurring sinusitis is also referred to as chronic sinusitis.

Symptoms Of Sinusitis
Sinusitis symptoms are similar to the symptoms from a cold. However, there will be pain in the sinus areas. This may be under the eyes, above the bridge of the nose, and even in the upper teeth. In addition you may have:

Fever of 101°F
Dulled sense of smell
Thick mucus that is yellow or green colored
Bad breath
Moist cough
A cold will go away on its own; but it may leave behind sinusitis If you have any of the above symptoms for more than 10 days, or if your cold symptoms suddenly get worse after seven days, you should consult an ENT. An ENT is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat your sinusitis. They can also identify underlying conditions and advise you in how to keep sinusitis from recurring and becoming chronic.

How ENTs Treat Sinusitis
First your ENT will take a medical history. Be sure to be prepared to let the ENT know when the symptoms started and the progression of symptoms. The ENT will then perform an examination. If your sinusitis is caused by nasal polyps, the nasal polyps will be treated as well. In addition to a physical and visual exam, tests just as a CT scan, MRI, X-ray or endoscopic exam may be necessary.

Medical Intervention. Depending on the type of sinusitis you have, you may be prescribed a course of antibiotics. If your infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics are ineffective and will not be prescribed. For chronic sinusitis, you may need to take several different courses of antibiotics. If your sinusitis is fungal, an antifungal medication may be prescribed. In addition, you may be prescribed nasal or oral corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. NSAIDs may be recommended to reduce pain.

Surgery. Surgery may be required if the infection has spread to the bones, if the infections do not respond to medical intervention, or if nasal polyps are involved.

Call The ENT
You can prevent problems with chronic sinusitis if you catch it early. This means if you feel a sinus headache coming on and it does not respond to home treatment such as the use of saline sprays and nasal irrigation, breathing warm moist air, or using warm moist compresses to the sinus areas, call the ENT. Your ENT can treat sinusitis and bring relief from the pain and symptoms of sinusitis.

Can Allergies Affect Your Ears?

Autumn is hay fever season. There’s also pollen, grass, pet dander and dust contributing to allergies. The most common symptoms are itchy and watery eyes and a stuffy nose. Can allergies affect your ears? Yes, in several ways.

Why Do You Have An Allergic Reaction?
When a foreign substance, such as pollen. causes hypersensitivity, your immune system responds by producing antibodies that release histamine. Histamines cause itching, mucus and sometimes swelling. Allergies can occur year-round, but for many people pollen and grass allergies are more likely to occur in the spring or fall.

How Are Your Ears Affected?
Our ears are made up of three parts – the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Allergic reactions can cause the outer ear to itch or swell. The middle ear contains the Eustachian tube, which acts as a drainage tube of sorts. When mucus clogs the middle ear it affects that drainage. Pressure builds, which can lead to discomfort, popping in the ears or an earache. Your middle ear may itch as well. The inner ear is filled with fluid, and if this fluid becomes infected, you may suffer dizziness, ringing in the ear or loss of balance.

Sometimes a stuffy nose and sinus pressure can radiate to the ears, causing pressure or earaches.

Some people experience a short-term hearing loss due to an allergic reaction. This is known as conductive hearing loss and usually is temporary and resolves itself when the allergies subside.

Young children commonly experience middle ear infections, which may be triggered by allergies. These infections are known as otitis media. If these occur often, a professional may recommend allergy tests.

Will Allergy Medicine Help?
Over-the-counter allergy medications can help take care of multiple symptoms, including any allergic reactions in the ear. Antihistamines and decongestants can reduce the feeling of fullness in the ear.

Other treatments that may help with allergic reactions in the ear include a warm compress, such as a washcloth placed on the ear or prescription eardrops. Pain medication also may help an earache.

If you have an infection, your health care provider can prescribe an antibiotic.

If pressure in the ear doesn’t go away or becomes painful, it’s important to see a hearing care provider right away.

What Is Meniere’s Disease?
This is an inner ear disorder that causes ringing in the ears, a feeling as if you’re spinning and hearing loss that becomes progressive and finally permanent. Some medical studies connect Meniere’s disease with seasonal allergies or food allergies. Allergy immunotherapy may help some patients.

Millions of people suffer from allergies, and allergies can affect the ears. Over-the-counter medications usually can help alleviate the symptoms. Sometimes an allergic reaction can lead to a short-term hearing loss, which clears when the allergies subside. If your ear health is suffering due to allergies or another reason, schedule an appointment with a hearing care provider as soon as possible to get to the bottom of it!

5 Benefits Of A Hearing Test

These days most of us lead pretty busy lives. That means some things get pushed to the back of the line. But when it comes to your health, it’s never a good idea to put things off. That’s especially true when it comes to getting your hearing checked. Now you may be thinking that this is one exam you can put off for a while, especially if you haven’t noticed any symptoms. But there are some very good reasons to get a check-up. Here are five benefits of a hearing test.

1. Better Family Relationships
Often, family members may notice a hearing loss earlier than the person with the issue. This can lead to arguments over the volume of TV and movies or who said what about something. Sometimes people can misinterpret your actions if it appears you’re ignoring them (rather than just not hearing them). Once you have the results of your hearing test, you can take action to fix any problems, including family fights.

2. Hearing The Little Things You Miss
A hearing test provides a roadmap of sorts to allow the audiologist to determine where any hearing loss has occurred and how best to program hearing aids to allow you to hear sounds in that range again. That means you’ll hear sounds you’ve been missing such as a ticking clock, rustling leaves, chirping birds or children’s laughter. It’s certainly one way to brighten up any day!

3. Removing The Uncertainty
If you’re considering getting a hearing exam, you probably suspect that you have some hearing loss. Living with uncertainty is stressful. Hearing tests are painless and take only about an hour of your time. Once you have the results, you can determine how best to move forward. For many people, there is relief in knowing that hearing aids will improve their quality of life.

4. Better Social Relationships
Socializing can be awkward when you’re not hearing portions of conversation due to background noise or if people believe you’re standoffish. There may also be that little issue of not hearing all the details of what the boss says at a meeting. Aren’t you tired of saying, “What?” or asking people to repeat themselves? Studies indicate that better hearing leads to better health as well.

5. Catching Other Health Issues
Sometimes hearing loss is a symptom. It may be caused by an infection or an earwax impaction or potentially serious health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or kidney disease. Hearing loss also is associated with depression, dementia and falls.

When you consider these five benefits of a hearing test, doesn’t it seem important enough to move it to the head of your to-do list? Audiologists have the education and training to determine the cause of any hearing loss and offer treatment options. They’re also there to consult and discuss any concerns you may have about your hearing loss and its impact on your daily routine. If it’s been years since your last hearing test, it’s probably time to see an audiologist.

What To Expect At Your Hearing Test

A hearing test is a routine treatment and one of the most common services that your audiologist provides. It’s nothing to worry about, but you may want to know what exactly you’re getting into so that you can arrive for your test as relaxed and prepared as possible.

Whether you have an upcoming test or you’re considering scheduling an appointment for one and want to know more about it, here we’re going to look at what exactly you can expect from your hearing test.

At The Start Of The Appointment
To begin with, we will welcome you to the practice and the front desk team will take your details, including personal and insurance information. Once your audiologist is ready for you, you will sit down in their office to help them get a better idea of your current concerns and health situation.

It’s recommended to bring your medical history, including family history of hearing loss and any medication that you’re currently taking. Your audiologist will also ask questions about your lifestyle and occupation. All of this information is designed to better help them be aware of risk factors to look out for and to provide more accurate diagnoses of potential hearing loss and their causes.

The Visual Examination
This step involves the use of an otoscope, which is a handheld device with a magnifying scope that is held against the opening of the ear canal. It’s a little cool but won’t cause any discomfort.

This device is used to take a closer look at the ear and to immediately spot any visually identifiable risk factors, like an earwax buildup or the symptoms of an ear infection. If any of these are spotted, then the audiologist may instead recommend treating these before continuing with the rest of the hearing test.

The Hearing Tests
Providing that the visual examination goes as expected, your audiologist will then follow up with a range of hearing tests. The purpose of these tests is to better understand your whole range of hearing. For all tests, you will be placed in a soundproof booth and given a pair of headphones. The audiologist will observe from another area. These may include the pure-tone and speech test.

The pure-tone test will involve the audiologist playing a range of different tones at different volume levels and different pitches. You may be asked to press a button when you hear the tone or to provide verbal confirmation that you hear it.

The speech test will involve the audiologist playing words and sentences at different volume levels and different pitches. They may also add or reduce background noise to see how clearly you can make out speech in different environments.

All the results of these tests help the audiologist complete an audiogram, which is a form that records the full range of your hearing.

The Ear Pressure Test
While not always necessary, the audiologist may also perform ear pressure tests. The purpose of these tests is to see how well your eardrum vibrates in reaction to noises while under various levels of ear pressure.

To do this, two procedures known as tympanometry and acoustic reflex thresholds are often performed together. This involves placing a device with an ear tip in your ear. You will hear beeps that get progressively louder and may feel changes in your ear pressure as this happens.

This test does not cause pain or discomfort, but you may experience the same sensations you would have when ascending in an airplane.

Following Your Appointment
Your audiologist will sit down with you following your hearing tests to help you look over the results. With the audiogram, they will be able to effectively diagnose any hearing loss as well as the type and severity of it and may outline specific causes. If you do suffer from any hearing loss, they recommend a future appointment to talk about treatment options, including hearing aid selection and fittings. Otherwise, they will likely provide advice on how to best protect your hearing in the future. As licensed, trained medical professionals, audiologists are the best equipped to diagnose any issues with hearing loss, so it’s best to arrange an appointment with them directly.

If you have any other questions about your hearing test or you don’t have one scheduled but believe you might need it, get in touch with your audiologist at Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates. Call us at one of our locations and we’ll be glad to answer any questions or schedule your appointment:

Ear Infection In Babies

Ear infections happen when viruses or bacteria get into the middle ear, the space behind the eardrum. When a child has an ear infection (also called otitis media), the middle ear fills with pus (infected fluid). The pus pushes on the eardrum, which can be very painful.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of an Ear Infection?
Ear pain is the main sign of a middle ear infection. Kids also might have:

A fever trouble eating, drinking, or sleeping. Chewing, sucking, and lying down can cause painful pressure changes in the middle ear. Older kids can complain about ear pain, but a younger child might just tug at the ear or be fussy and cry more than usual.

If the pressure from the fluid buildup gets high enough, it can rupture the eardrum, with fluid draining from the ear. This is a common cause of ruptured eardrums in children. A child with a ruptured eardrum might feel dizzy or nauseated, and have ringing or buzzing in the ear.

How Do Ear Infections Happen?
A middle ear infection usually happens because of swelling in one or both of the eustachian tubes (which connect the middle ear to the back of the throat). The tubes let mucus drain from the middle ear into the throat.

A cold, throat infection, acid reflux, or allergies can make the eustachian tubes swell. This blocks the mucus from draining. Then, viruses or bacteria grow in the mucus and make pus, which builds up in the middle ear.

When doctors refer to an ear infection, they usually mean otitis media rather than swimmer’s ear (or otitis externa). Otitis media with effusion is when noninfected fluid builds up in the ear. It might not cause symptoms, but in some kids, the fluid creates a sensation of ear fullness or “popping.”

Why Do Kids Get Ear Infections?
Kids (especially in the first 2 to 4 years of life) get ear infections more than adults do for several reasons:

Their shorter, more horizontal eustachian tubes let bacteria and viruses find their way into the middle ear more easily. The tubes are also narrower, so more likely to get blocked.
Their adenoids, gland-like structures at the back of the throat, are larger and can interfere with the opening of the eustachian tubes.
Other things that can put kids at risk include secondhand smoke, bottle-feeding, and being around other kids in childcare. Ear infections are more common in boys than girls.

Ear infections are not contagious, but the colds that sometimes cause them can be. Infections are common during winter weather, when many people get upper respiratory tract infections or colds (a child with an ear infection also might have cold symptoms, like a runny or stuffy nose or a cough).

How Long Do Ear Infections Last?
Middle ear infections often go away on their own within 2 or 3 days, even without any specific treatment.

In some cases, an infection can last longer (with fluid in the middle ear for 6 weeks or longer), even after antibiotic treatment.

How Are Ear Infections Diagnosed?
Doctors will do a physical exam and examine the ear. They use an otoscope, a small instrument similar to a flashlight, to see the eardrum.

How Are Ear Infections Treated?
To treat an ear infection, health care providers consider many things, including:

the type and severity of the ear infection
how often the child has ear infections
how long this infection has lasted
the child’s age and any risk factors
whether the infection affects hearing
The type of otitis affects treatment options. Not all kinds need to be treated with antibiotics. Because most ear infections can clear on their own, many doctors take a “wait-and-see” approach. Kids will get medicine for pain relief without antibiotics for a few days to see if the infection gets better.

Antibiotics aren’t routinely prescribed because they:

won’t help an infection caused by a virus
won’t get rid of middle ear fluid
can cause side effects
usually don’t relieve pain in the first 24 hours and have only a minimal effect after that
Also, overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are much harder to treat.

If a doctor does prescribe antibiotics, a 10-day course is usually recommended. Kids age 6 and older who don’t have a severe infection might take a shortened course for 5 to 7 days.

Some children, such as those with recurrent infections and those with lasting hearing loss or speech delay, may need ear tube surgery. An ear, nose, and throat doctor will surgically insert tubes (called tympanostomy tubes) that let fluid drain from the middle ear. This helps equalize the pressure in the ear.

When Else Are Antibiotics Needed?
Antibiotics can be the right treatment for kids who get a lot of ear infections. Their doctors might prescribe daily antibiotics to help prevent future infections. And younger children or those with more severe illness may need antibiotics right from the start.

The “wait-and-see” approach also might not apply to children with other concerns, such as cleft palate, genetic conditions such as Down syndrome, or other illnesses such as immune system disorders.

How Can I Help My Child Feel Better?
With or without antibiotic treatment, you can help to ease discomfort by giving your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and fever as needed. Your doctor also may recommend using pain-relieving ear drops as long as the eardrum isn’t ruptured.

Can Ear Infections Affect Hearing?
Fluid buildup in the middle ear also blocks sound, which can lead to temporary hearing problems. Kids having a problem might:

not respond to soft sounds
need to turn up the TV or radio
talk louder
seem inattentive at school
In kids who have otitis media with effusion, the fluid behind the eardrum can block sound, so mild temporary hearing loss can happen, but might not be obvious.

A child whose eardrum has ruptured might have ringing or buzzing in the ear and not hear as well as usual.

Can Ear Infections Be Prevented?
Some lifestyle choices can help protect kids from ear infections:

Breastfeed infants for at least 6 months to help to prevent the development of early episodes of ear infections. If a baby is bottle-fed, hold the baby at an angle instead of lying the child down with the bottle.
Prevent exposure to secondhand smoke, which can increase the number and severity of ear infections.
Parents and kids should wash their hands well and often. This is one of the most important ways to stop the spread of germs that can cause colds and, therefore, ear infections.
Keep children’s immunizations up to date because certain vaccines can help prevent ear infections.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Very rarely, ear infections that don’t go away or severe repeated middle ear infections can lead to complications. So kids with an earache or a sense of fullness in the ear, especially when combined with fever, should be seen by their doctors if they aren’t getting better after a couple of days.

Other things can cause earaches, such as teething, a foreign object in the ear, or hard earwax. Your doctor can find the cause of your child’s discomfort and treat it.

The function and importance of ear wax

Ear wax, or cerumen, is a yellowish, waxy, natural substance produced by glands in the skin of the outer ear canal of humans and other mammals to protect the ear canals from damage and infection. Ear wax consists mainly of shed skin cells, hair, and the secretions of the ceruminous and sebaceous glands of the outer ear canal.

Ear wax serves several important functions in the ear canal so removing it is not required. Ear wax protects the skin of the ear canal; assists in the cleaning and lubrication of the ear canal; and provides a form of protection against bacteria, fungi, insects and water build-up in the ear canal.

Excessive wax build-up

The ear canals are self-cleaning. This means that ear wax and old sloughed off skin cells are automatically transported from within the ear canal to the outer opening of the ear by chewing and the other movements of the jaw. At this point, the ear wax usually dries up and falls out of the ear canal. Any noticeable wax deposit left at the edge of the outer ear can be gently wiped away using a towel.

Ear wax is only formed in the outer one-third of the ear canal, hence, when a person has a wax blockage deep inside the ear canal that rests against the eardrum, it is often because they have inserted a foreign object into their ear canals, pushing the wax deep into the canal.

Common causes of excessive wax build-up and wax blockage include placing small objects into your ears, like Q-tips, hair pins, earbuds, rolled cotton balls and paper, etc. A narrowing of the ear canal due to infections or diseases of the skin, bones, or connective tissue of the ear. Less production of the fluid form of cerumen due to aging of the glands that produce it as we get older. An overproduction of cerumen related to trauma of, or a blockage within, the ear canal.

Guidelines to removing wax at home

Home treatments can be used to soften and remove excessive ear wax.

• Place a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, sweet oil, hydrogen peroxide or commercial ear drops (available in most pharmacies) into the ear. Use finger to gently massage the oil into the ear canal. Wait 15 to 30 minutes. Use an ear syringe (available at the pharmacy) filled with warm water or saline to flush the ear. Water or saline should be at least body temperature warm to prevent dizziness. Gently squirt the solution into the ear canal to flush the wax out. This may need to be repeated several times to ensure all the wax is removed. Repeat the entire procedure once to twice per year.

Do not clean your ears at home if you have a perforation or hole in your eardrum, you have an ear infection, you have diabetes, you have tubes in the eardrum, you have skin problems such as eczema in the ear canal, or you have a weakened immune system.

Ear candling can result in serious injuries and is therefore not a safe method to remove ear wax.

Wax removal by medical professional

If you are unable to remove the wax at home, or if one of the above special conditions apply, please seek medical help to have the wax professionally removed. Your ENT or physician will be able to remove the wax safely in one of two ways — by syringing; or by using suction or special miniature instruments. A microscope will be used to magnify the ear canal. This method is usually used on patients with narrow ear canals, perforations, tubes, skin problems affecting the ear canal, diabetes or a weakened immune system.

Putting things in your ear only pushes the wax further down the ear canal and may also result in damage to the delicate ear system. Therefore, never stick anything in your ear, including Q-tips. Remember, the ear is self-cleaning. In the rare case you are a person who has excessive wax buildup or blockage and are unable to have the wax safely removed at home, seek help to have the wax softened and removed by a medical professional. If you are a person with constant wax impaction, or if you use hearing aids, have a routine ear check every six to 12 months to have any wax taken care of before it builds up.

How to Care for Your Ears

Voltaire called the ear the “road to the heart.” It seems an apt description. Consider how a child’s cry, a romantic song, or the thump of a neighbor’s stereo at 3 a.m. can stir your emotions.

Ears not only let us hear, but they also play a role in maintaining our balance, which is vital to our ability to function in daily life.
Yet, we ignore them. We can’t even see our ears, except in a mirror. We take for granted what they do for us day in and day out — until we notice something’s wrong,
such as when an earache strikes or when we start having to ask people to repeat what they say.
This article will tell you all the vital information you need about ear care, including:

Protecting Your Ears:- Everyone knows that loud noises can damage your ears, but there are many other ways to injure the delicate mechanisms that allow us to hear.
Foreign objects or sudden blows to the ear can damage the eardrum, resulting in temporary or, in some cases, permanent hearing loss.
In this section, we tell you how to avoid the common mistakes people make that damage their ears and we will
tell you the best ways to cope with loud noises. We will also tell you how many decibels are too many and how loud the rustle of leaves are compared
to a jet engine.

Preventing Ear Problems Aside from making sure you don’t puncture your eardrum with a foreign object, there are other steps you need to take
to prevent some common ear problems. One common ear nuisance is swimmer’s ear.This is a condition that can result when bacteria grow inside the ear canal,
and it can be quite painful. We will tell you how to prevent and treat this infection. We will also tell you the day-to-day maintenance you need to do for
your ears to keep them healthy and problem free.

Ear Infections Anyone with small children is probably well versed in middle ear infections.
Ear infections are the most common illness in infants and small children. While adults do get ear infections, they are much more serious for children.
This is partly because they are much more apt to get them, and partly because the symptoms can be more severe for children. In this section,
we will give you some tips for preventing your child from getting middle ear infections, as well as some tips for what to do when the eventually develop one.
Ear Disorders The ear infections and damage to the ear from excessively loud noises that we mentioned in the previous sections are usually only temporary ear problems.
However, some simple ear inconveniences can result serious, lasting disorders. Deafness, a lack of balance, and a constant
ringing in the ears are all signs of serious problems. In this section, we give a guide to the various ear disorders and
how to treat them. We will also tell you how you can the difference between an ear problem you can take care of yourself
and one that needs a doctor’s attention.

1. Stop the loud noise, or wear ear protection.
2. Keep your blood pressure down.
3. Cut down on salt, which may sometimes be a problem for tinnitus sufferers.
4. Limit aspirin; chronic intake (or even frequent use over one or two days) can cause tinnitus. Talk to your physician before stopping any medication that you think might be causing tinnitus.
5. Avoid caffeine, tobacco, and addictive substances, which can also trigger tinnitus.
6. Work it out; if poor circulation is the cause of ringing in your ears, exercise will help.
7. Be sure you’re getting enough rest.

Ringing in the ears can relate to a more serious medical condition, such as:

extremely high levels of triglycerides in your blood
stroke or transient ischemic attack (if accompanied by slurred speech, numbness in the face or extremities, or vision changes)
Meniere disease, an inner-ear disorder (if accompanied by severe dizziness and fluctuating hearing loss)
acoustic neuroma, a tumor of the ear nerve
So, if the ringing in your ears doesn’t seem to have an obvious cause and lasts for more than a day, set up an appointment with your doctor.

Cotton swabs are a waste

Given how precious they are, it’s only natural that you wish to keep your ears in great health. As such, ear cleaning is probably one of the top items on your agenda. Like most people, using cotton swabs is probably a part of your ongoing ritual. Unfortunately, as any audiologist will confirm, this is a bad idea.

So, forget what you thought you knew about ear cleaning, especially with regards to swabs.

Cotton swabs are ineffective
After using a cotton swab, it’s fairly likely that you will see a small amount of wax. This can lull you into thinking that the cleaning ritual has worked wonders. In truth, the bulk of that wax has probably been pushed further into the ear.

This counteracts the ear’s natural self-cleaning mechanism, making it even harder for the buildup to escape. Ignore the placebo effect because those swab-related efforts are futile.

Cotton swabs are potentially dangerous
Aside from achieving very little in terms of cleaning the ear, cotton swabs can actively put your health at harm. Pushing an object into an infected ear, for example, could cause a lot of pain and may even result in an unwanted trip to the nearest E.R.

Similarly, it’s not uncommon for people to push it too deep, causing perforated ear drums and even bleeding. Whether it’s minor discomfort or a major problem, it’s better to avoid the threat altogether.

There are far better home treatments available
Even if you don’t wish to see an audiologist, it’s possible to gain a far better result from other home cleaning methods. Using ear drops to loosen the wax before flushing it out with a little tepid water and tilting of the head can work wonders. It’s far better than pushing the wax further down.

However, you must avoid using other dangerous methods such as candling. While many people believe it to be a very effective method, there is no research to back up those claims. The relief is temporary while the dangers are potentially permanent.

Audiologists provide the best treatments
If you are genuinely concerned about the general cleanliness of your ears or a potential wax buildup, seeing an audiologist is advised. They can check for other issues such as infections, which will naturally stop you from making things worse.

Moreover, an audiologist can use advanced irrigation techniques to ensure the excess wax is flushed in the most effective manner without causing any other troubles. Besides, trying to clean the ears using home methods can be a little difficult as you can’t exactly see what you’re doing.

Cotton swabs are a waste
The fact is that cotton swabs, when used for cleaning ears, do very little in terms of positivity. They signal a huge waste of money, especially if they end up causing further damage to your precious ears. Moreover, the wasted material often ends up in landfills and on beaches.

Stick to using cotton swabs for other beauty rituals, and leave them away from your ears. Even if you’ve done it for years, now is the time to stop.

How ear phones are ruining your ear

Earphones are highly popular these days. You can see everyone wearing earphones these days because they are highly common and they are used with every single device that you have. You can use single earphone with your mobile as well as with your laptop or desktop which makes it all-rounder.

Buying headphones is quite an easy task because there are always numerous choices available in the market. But, before you actually do that, you need to be aware of basic pros and cons of using an earphone.

There are several ways in which the earphone can be harmful for you and we have enlisted seven major harms of earphone along with their ways to counter them. This represents the right and safe use of a headset and it should be followed by every single person who uses earphone.

1. Noise Cancelling Earphones Makes You Impervious To Important Sound: Using noise cancelling earphones is highly preferable choice of music listeners these days because it allows them to completely remove the outside distraction voices while they are listening to music.

This is actually good if you look from this perspective but it also makes you unaware of other important voices around you. The best way to handle this situation is to use the noise cancelling earphone whenever it is necessary. Never wear these earphones when you are on the road.

2. Accidents Due To Careless Use Of Earphones: When you are listening music then it is quite common that you don’t pay attention to the surrounding and that can be highly dangerous when you are in the location where you can be in the contact of incoming and outgoing vehicles.

In order to avoid such harm due to careless use of earphone, you should never wear earphone while you are crossing the street or while you are in the crowded area. You should wear earphones only when you are alone and when you don’t have any risk possibilities around you.

3. Ear Infection Due To Earphone Sharing: When two people use one earphone by sharing then this does sound very affectionate act but this can be really very harmful for your ear. There is a possibility of infection due to exchange of germs.

The only way to avoid such harm while sharing the earphone with another person is to clean the earphone with tissue paper and sanitize it before use so that you can get rid of all germs and infection causing bacteria.

4. NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss) Due To Loud Music: There are so many people who like loud music but it is not good for health to regularly listen to the loud music. It is necessary for you to prefer medium sound so that you can avoid causing harm to your ear tissues.

It is best to hear music on medium or low volume if you are a regular music listener so that you can avoid any temporary or permanent harm for your hearing. Or, the best way is to listen the music through speakers instead of using earphone.

5. Using Earphone While Traveling Is Worst: When you are traveling then it is not good for your bodily health to listen music. Use of earphone can be really very harmful because when you are in any vehicle like bus or train then the noise reaches to decibel level which is definitely too loud for ears.

The best way to avoid this situation is to avoid use of earphone and avoid listening music while you are traveling. In fact, when you are in the crowded and noisy place, you should not use an earphone for listening music. You can use noise cancellation earphones for such situations to protect ears from noise.

6. Hearing Loss Due To Regular Use Of Earphone: If you will use earphone regularly without taking breaks then this could be really very harmful for your ears and it could even result in temporary or permanent hearing loss.

If you want to make sure that your regular use of earphone does not affect negatively on your hearing, then you should ensure that you take breaks every now and then so that your ears can get some time for relaxation. It is highly important thing to do in order to keep your ears healthy.

7. Sleek And In-Ear Earphones Are Worst For Eardrums: Sometimes people use sleek and compact in-ear earphone because they are inspired by the movies where detective and secret agents wear small earphones that are almost invisible to the general audience. Use of it could be very bad for the ears.

Since they are too close to your ear, it is quite natural that they will harm your eardrums more than general earphone. That is why, it is highly preferred that you don’t use sleek earphones regularly just because you are attracted to them. Use of general earphones is best and most suitable choice.

I can hear, just not clearly. Do I have hearing loss.

I can hear, just not clearly. Do I have hearing loss.

What’s the number one complaint hearing care professionals hear from their new patients with hearing loss? Ask them and they’ll likely say it’s, “I can hear but I can’t understand.” If this is what you’re experiencing, you may wonder if you have a hearing loss.

earing loss is complicated because it involves not only the ears, but also the brain where sound is translated into meaningful words. It can manifest in many different ways with symptoms that vary between individuals. Hearing loss comes in all degrees from mild to profound. When you think of hearing loss, severe hearing loss or deafness probably comes to mind. But mild, moderate and high frequency hearing losses are actually much more common. And, with these types of hearing losses, the only symptom may be difficulty with word understanding, especially in situations where there is competing noise.

Hearing vs. understanding

When your hearing is tested, the results are plotted on an audiogram. People with high frequency hearing losses are said to have a “sloping” hearing loss. If you have a sloping hearing loss, it means you are able to hear low-pitched sounds, those below 1000 Hz, very well, sometimes even as well as someone with normal hearing. But, the high-pitched sounds above 1000 Hz need to be much louder before you can hear them. While not always the case, high frequency hearing loss is often the cause of feeling like you can hear but can’t understand.

In speech, vowel sounds (A, E, I, O and U) are low in pitch while consonant sounds like S, F, Th, Sh, V, K, P and others are high in pitch. Being able to hear vowel sounds is helpful and will alert you that speech is present, but it’s the consonant sounds that give speech meaning and help you distinguish one word from another. Without being able to hear subtle differences between consonants, words like “cat” and “hat,” “parrot” and “ferret” and “show” and “throw” can be hard to differentiate. This is why so many people with high frequency hearing losses brought about by natural aging (presbycusis) or excessive noise exposure have difficulty understanding even when they know sound is present.

If you have a high frequency hearing loss, you may notice problems understanding speech even in a relatively quiet environment, but when background noise is present or several people are talking at once, it can become nearly impossible to follow a conversation. People with hearing loss that has gone untreated for a number of years sometimes begin to avoid lively social situations or public places they once enjoyed because interacting with others is too difficult.

When you have a high frequency hearing loss, you may have trouble:

following conversations in quiet and noisy places (hear but can’t understand).
talking on the phone.
understanding your favorite TV shows or movies even when you turn the volume up.
understanding female and young children’s voices because they tend to be higher in pitch.
enjoying music because it sounds distorted, especially at higher volumes.
Family members, friends and work colleagues can get frustrated and feel you aren’t listening to them when they speak to you. Your spouse may accuse you of having “selective hearing.” You may accuse others of mumbling. Sometimes, you will answer questions inappropriately and miss the punch lines of jokes. Other times, you may resort to smiling and nodding when someone speaks to give the impression you are listening when in fact, you do not understand what was just said. Untreated hearing loss can take a toll on relationships, careers and your daily life.

Hear what you’ve been missing

Often, the best solution for high frequency hearing loss is properly fit hearing aids that can amplify the high pitches you’ve been missing without amplifying low-pitched sounds. Once you begin wearing hearing aids, you will notice improvement with understanding speech and you may even notice you’re hearing sounds that have long been forgotten. For instance, some new hearing aid wearers are pleasantly surprised to hear the soft chirping of songbirds for the first time in years. You will once again be able to hear that beeping sound your microwave makes, your car’s turn signal and your phone ringing.