Ear Noise Treatment – Ear Problems Signal Hearing

Ear Noise Treatment – The water, the sun, plenty of swimming and splashing around are the ingredients for a perfect summer day spent by the pool or at the beach. Add a painful ear infection to the picture, that’s what can happen to you if swimmer’s ear strikes. Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal caused sometimes by fungus but most commonly by bacteria. The frequent, prolonged exposure to water that occurs when someone swims regularly can wash away the oily, waxy substance that normally lines and protects the ear canal. In addition, even after the swimmer leaves the pool or pond, water can remain in the ear canal, creating a warm, moist environment that’s perfect for breeding bacteria. Despite the name, however, these external ear infections don’t just occur in swimmers or in the summertime. Water can enter and pool in the outer ear canal after showers, too.

Ear Noise Treatment – In the age of iPods, headsets, and rock and roll music, we’ve all experienced the discomfort ringing sensation or the sudden sensation of the room spinning, after standing up too quickly. When the ear is exposed to loud noises, the electrical signals that penetrate the ear may over excite the cochlea. The abnormal activity of the cochlea may cause damage to the nerve endings that carries the signal to the brain which may result to hearing damage such as tinnitus, which can be a temporary or a permanent condition that you have to live for life.

Our ears are made of tiny bones, passages and structures that not only control our hearing, but also our sense of balance and equilibrium. This delicate, intricate system can be thrown out of whack by many things: a cold, an infection, medication or an injury.

The three parts of the ear – outer, middle and inner ear – are all used in hearing. The outer and middle ear conduct sound waves, while the inner ear creates and sends the nerve impulses to the brain, where they are recognized as sounds. The inner ear also controls balance, which is why disorders of this part of the ear are particularly troublesome and can impact quality of life.

A common problem that affects more than 50 million Americans is tinnitus. With tinnitus, an abnormal ear noise such as roaring or ringing is heard in the ear. The noise has nothing to do with actual sound waves in the ear, but rather, is a “phantom” sound that’s heard either intermittently or all the time. It can develop in the outer, middle or inner ear, and it can affect hearing and balance too.

Tinnitus is challenging to diagnose and treat. It can be caused by many things, and is generally a symptom of an underlying condition like damage to the inner ear by illness, injury or abnormal tissue growth.

Tinnitus can occur in one or both ears. The phantom sound can be constant or occur in episodes, and can be accompanied by vertigo, a spinning sensation or loss of balance. The condition can be caused by excess fluid, infection, disease of the middle ear bones or ear drum, advancing age, loud noise exposure, or medication.

There are more than 200 medications – over-the-counter and prescription drugs – known to cause balance disorders. Sometimes, discontinuing the medication will reverse hearing and balance problems, but permanent damage is possible.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, tinnitus can be brought on by a variety of conditions, including impacted wax in the outer ear, an ear infection, middle ear tumors, vascular problems (circulation disorders), noise-induced hearing loss, heart problems, TMJ (chronic inflammation of the jaw), auditory nerve tumors, epilepsy, or Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear in which inner ear fluid is not properly regulated.

Unfortunately, for many tinnitus cases, there is no known cause or cure. Often, tinnitus goes away on its own, but if it persists untreated it can cause permanent ear noise and disability. Balance issues, an associated symptom, are difficult to manage. While the human body can learn to adapt to reduced balance control, it’s important to see a doctor, because compromised balance can lead to other problems, particularly in seniors who are prone to falls and injuries.

The first step in treating tinnitus is a medical evaluation by your doctor, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, or an audiologist, if hearing loss is suspected. Other diagnostic tests may include an MRI or CT scan to rule out the small possibility of a tumor on the balance or hearing nerve. Your doctor can locate the cause and recommend medical or surgical treatment, or suggest methods to alleviate ringing in the ears symptoms, if no identifiable cause can be found.

Ear Noise TreatmentTinnitus can also be treated with medication and lifestyle changes. Some specialists suggest niacin to reduce ears ringing. Others suggest limiting salt intake, protecting the ears with earplugs in loud environments, avoiding stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, and regular exercise. Biofeedback, hypnosis, electrical stimulation, and relaxation therapy have also proven beneficial for some tinnitus patients.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Stephen Tai is a member of the otolaryngology medical staff in the department of surgery at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. He is a graduate of Jefferson Medical College. Tai’s surgical internship and otolaryngology residency programs were completed at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

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