Posts Tagged ‘hearing’

ear wax buildup, hearing

I’m writing about a subject that may not be too appealing or romantic, but it’s something that pretty much affects all of us. I recently wrote about hearing loss and mentioned that a frequent cause of this was from blockage due to ear wax, also called cerumen.

Ear wax is actually not a wax but a mixture of skin cells and oil secreted by glands in the ear canal. Its purpose is to lubricate and protect the sensitive lining of the canal. It has some antimicrobial properties which means it can help to fight off infections.

Most of the time cerumen has a tendency, due to chewing and jaw movements, to move to the opening of the ear where it dries up and flakes out of the ear and disappears, causing us no problems.

When an ear canal is blocked up with cerumen, it is called an impaction. This can occur when one produces an overabundance of ear wax.Another cause of impaction is from the use of a Q Tip which more often than not forces the cerumen deeper into the ear canal rather than cleaning it out. The use of a Q-Tip can also scratch your ear canal and cause an infection. This is why it’s often said not to stick anything in your ear “smaller than your elbow”.

With a cerumen impaction, you will most likely feel a pressure sensation in your ear canal and usually some degree of hearing loss. These are the symptoms that will usually cause a patient to see their doctor.

Once your doctor looks in your ear and verifies the wax blockage he or she has several options to remove it. The most common method used is to flush out the ear with pressurized water. Another method your doctor may use is to take a small wire instrument and, under direct vision, remove the wax manually

There are ear wax removal kits found at pharmacies that contain wax softening drops and a bulb syringe to flush out the ear. Although not always successful, they’re probably worth a try.

I advise my patients after the wax has been removed, to do some home therapy to prevent further wax buildup. Once a week, perhaps when bathing, they should flush out their ears with luke warm water, using a common rubber bulb syringe found at any pharmacy. This method should clean out any wax before it accumulates.

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Interesting facts from medical literature

Beginning today, I will occasionally share with you some interesting facts from articles I have read during my review of current medical literature.

Did you know:

  • Skin cancer on the head or neck is more deadly than on other parts of the body.
  • 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week can reduce blood pressure between 5 and 8 points
  • Extensive use of flip-flop shoes can cause pain in the heel, ankle, lower leg and toes.
  • Pessimistic heart patients are almost twice as likely to die within six to 10 years as heart patients with an optimistic outlook.
  • Trans fats, found in many processed foods, not only increase the risk of heart disease but also increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 9-1-1, then chew and swallow one 325 mg. aspirin
  • Exercising in water burns more calories than doing the same exercise on land.
  • People, who engage in vigorous cardiovascular activities regardless of their size, are healthier and live longer than their sedentary counterparts.
  • Fish oil may help to ease depression.
  • To halt a lower leg calf cramp, flex your foot by pointing it up toward your shin. You can grab and pull the toes and ball of your foot to help flex it.
  • Sixteen percent of people between the ages of 20 to 69 suffer significant hearing loss.
  • Memory loss is linked to low levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol
  • The spread of flu is linked to airline travel. The fewer people who travel by airline over the Thanksgiving holiday, in particular, the slower the flu moves across the country.
  • Vitamin C may fight wrinkles.
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol leads to increased risk of pre-diabetes.
  • Eating or drinking food high in cocoa improves blood flow to the brain and may help prevent stroke and dementia.
  • People with type 2 adult onset diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease, mostly because of increasing cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Those who receive the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine may be at a lesser risk of heart attacks.
  • Adult muscle mass decreases by 1 percent a year after the age of 30.
  • Drinking up to three cups a day of black or green tea reduced stroke risk by 21 percent.
  • Symptoms of depression can be improved by eating less processed sugary foods and increasing foods such as grains and vegetables.
  • For acute low back pain, a day or two of bed rest may be helpful. For more rapid healing, it is best to get out of bed and move around as soon as possible.
  • Newer cooking recipes have larger portion sizes. Stay conscious of portion size when eating.
  • Drowsy driving is linked to 100,000 motor vehicle accidents causing 1,000 deaths and 40,000 injuries.
  • Accidents with dogs and cats cause 80,000 emergency room visits annually for their owners in the United States.

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