Our ears are responsible for hearing and balance. They have three parts: the outer, middle and inner ear.
The outer ear consists of the pinna, which is the part you can see on the side of your head, and the external ear canal. Sound waves (vibrations) are collected by the pinna and transmitted along the external ear canal until they reach the eardrum, causing it to vibrate.
The middle of the ear is the space behind the eardrum consisting of small bones called the ossicles (the malleus, incus and stapes). The ossicles go from the eardrum down to the cochlea (your hearing organ in the inner ear). Ossicles move backwards and forwards as the eardrum vibrates, passing soundwaves to the inner ear. Moreover, the middle of the ear connects to the space at the back of the nose, via a small passage known as the Eustachian tube. Whenever we blow our nose, swallow, or yawn, the Eustachian tube opens, letting in air to the middle ear.
Your inner ear is the deepest part of your ear and has two roles. Firstly, it converts soundwaves into electric signals, known as nerve impulses. This is important for the brain to be able to hear and interpret sounds. Secondly, the inner ear helps with our balance.
A build-up of ear wax is one of the most common types of ear problems. Earwax is a yellow, brown or orange-coloured substance that protects the skin of the ear canal, and helps with cleaning and lubrication, whilst offering protection against bacteria, fungi, and water. Earwax usually falls out on its own as the ears work to expel it. However, sometimes your body may produce more earwax, creating an excess which then causes a blockage and problems with hearing and may result in dizziness too. This build-up of ear wax also leaves you at more risk of developing ear infections and other complications.
Tinnitus (a ringing in one or both ears) is another ear complaint, usually caused by the aging process or from exposure to loud noise. In addition, swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) is a problem that can result in inflammation or infection of the outer ear (pinna and ear canal). Sudden cases are often caused by ear infections, whereas chronic otitis is commonly connected to the skin condition dermatitis.
Whilst we have to shower or wash daily and brush our teeth daily, our ears in comparison actually require far less maintenance, but they still do need looking after.
It is always important to clean your ears with extra care. It is advisable to clean the outer ear with a washcloth or tissue. Do not insert pins, cotton buds or sharp objects to clean your ears. They may actually push wax further into or injure the ear canal or eardrum.
If you have pierced ears, make sure to keep your earrings and earlobes clean through the regular use of rubbing alcohol.
Blocked, hardened ear wax that is causing problems for you – such as hearing loss or dizziness– can be softened up through the use of various eardrops that are available to buy online today from Medical Specialists® Pharmacy. The drops make the removal of the wax much easier and often can avoid the need for syringing of the ears at the doctors.