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Ear Diseases and General Ear Care Tips
Our ears are of course very important to us and anyone who has ever suffered with an ear infection or injury will tell you, it's very uncomfortable when they're not 100% healthy. Many people ignore their ears the majority of the time, until something goes wrong and they are left in agony, unable to hear properly and often dizzy.
There are a wealth of health care articles available online that give a plethora of confusing information on what can go wrong, using large words (generally Latin) that soon have your eyes glazing over, so we shall give you some simple and practical tips and advice on caring for your ears without bamboozling you too much with science.
Firstly, it's important to point out that if you're worried about loud ringing noises, pain or dizziness caused by your ears, then your first port of call should really be a health care professional. This is especially important if you have suffered some kind of injury to the ear or if your symptoms have lasted more than a day. Whilst serious ear disease is uncommon, it's not unheard of (no pun intended) so if you're unsure, pay a visit to the doctor.
Ear Disease warning signs
Ménière's Disease affects around 1 in 1000 people, most commonly those between the ages of 40-60 years.
• Vertigo (dizziness or a spinning feeling, often accompanied by nausea)
Ménière's often affects only one ear but can affect both and attacks can vary in length and frequency. Around 4 in 10 people with the disease will go on to suffer the long-term effects of hearing loss and tinnitus.
Attacks can last between 20 minutes to a few hours so if you've experienced these symptoms, then you should seek the advice of your doctor.
Middle ear infections are common, especially in young children and are often caused by viral infections in the first instance. For children, it's essential to get the child to the doctors if you suspect an ear infection and equally important that you ensure the child takes the full course if antibiotics are prescribed.
For older children, teach them not to hold their nose when they sneeze or blow it too hard as this increases pressure and provides a good breeding ground for bacteria. If left untreated, middle ear infections can become complicated so don't ignore.
Swimmers ear is an outer ear infection which often affects those who love the water. Bacteria gets into the ear or sometimes it's caused by a fungal infection; if you spend a lot of time in the water then invest in a swimming cap and ensure your ears are dried properly after bathing. You can buy drops from the pharmacist which are antiseptic and may prevent infection occurring but for the most part, whilst you have an infection, stay out of the water so you don't pass it on.
Again, children are susceptible here as younger kids love to place foreign objects in orifices. Loud noises can also cause ear injury, as can placing things in the ear and if this should happen, it can be extremely painful.
Avoid cleaning ears with cotton buds, as these can perforate the ear drum if pressed upon too hard and if you suspect an ear injury, seek medical advice.
Never use cotton buds, pins, or any other object to clean your ears, they are a self-cleaning for the most part. Should you think you have a build-up of wax in your or your child's ears, then visit the doctor to get them syringed, don't attempt to tackle the problem yourself.
We've touched upon the most common problems that occur with ears here, but not all of them. By far the most common are ear infections in children and these are something that need to be addressed by a doctor. In babies, it's often difficult to tell, but if they are crying a lot and plucking at an ear, it's a good indication that infection is there.
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