Your Hearing Is Our Priority

Hearing Health

How We Hear

Inside EarSound travels down the ear canal, striking the eardrum and causing it to move or vibrate.

Vibrations from the eardrum cause a chain of tiny bones in the middle ear to vibrate which, in turn, creates movement of the fluid in the inner ear. Movement of the fluid in the inner ear, or cochlea, causes changes in tiny structures called hair cells. This movement of the hair cells sends electric signals from the inner ear up the auditory nerve (also known as the hearing nerve) to the brain. The brain then interprets these electrical signals as sound.

Ear care

Our ears are self cleaning organs. The outer part of the canal is lined by hair bearing skin. The purpose of these hairs is to capture dirt etc that is on the way into the ears. Moreover, the skin of the ear canal contains Ceruminous glands. These glands secrete Cerumen, which is a sticky substance and commonly known as Wax. Whatever dead cells are shed by the skin or the dirt that reaches into the canal adheres to the cerumen and is brought out of the canal by the normal process of migration of the ear canal mucosa. Hence, the ear canal is kept naturally clean.

Certain persons accumulate wax in the ears and this may be due to one of two causes:

  1. Excessive cerumen secretion by the glands within the canal.
  2. Narrow canal leading to improper or inadequate migration of the wax out of the ear canals.

This can lead to excessive wax accumulation.

The wax accumulating within the canal also dries up and becomes hard. This may lead to feeling of blockage in the ear, or to pain and sometimes hearing loss. Sometimes, our efforts to clean out the wax from the ear, may also cause trauma to the delicate skin of the ear canal and may even lead to infection.

The various things that are likely to damage our ears include:

  • Any external objects/substances inserted/instilled into the ears (including cotton swabs)
  • Trauma or injury over the ears, such as slap or blow etc
  • Entry of dirty water into the ears.
  • Exposure to loud sounds
  • Untreated infections

Best practices for good ear & hearing health:

Never try to clean out the ear on your own using any kind of object or instrument

Never insert anything into your ear. You may damage the Ear drum or the skin of the Outer ear canal leading to infection.

Do not instil oil or any other liquid into your ears unless advised by a doctor: this can lead to infection.

Continuous exposure to loud sounds can be very damaging to the hearing: Continuous exposure to loud sounds such as factory noise, traffic noise, loud music etc will slowly, but surely affect the hearing and lead to permanent hearing loss over a period.

Always feed a baby with the head slightly raised: Two short tubes connect the nasopharynx (space behind the nose) to the ears. They are known as the Eustachian tubes. In a young child, these tubes are shorter, straighter and wider. When a child is fed in a lying down position, the milk may flow into the nasopharynx and can enter the ear through the Eustachian tubes. This predisposes the child to infection of the ear. This can be avoided by following the correct feeding posture.

Avoid swimming/bathing in dirty water: Entry of dirty water into the ear is a source of infection. It can lead to bacterial or fungal infection.

If your child is inattentive and does not listen to you, get his hearing tested: The inattentiveness could be due to hearing loss. Get it checked immediately, so that proper treatment can be undertaken

Do not ignore pain in the ear: Pain in the ear may indicate a serious infection. Untreated, this infection could lead to rupture of the eardrum. Always consult a doctor in case of acute ear pain.

Get you hearing checked. If you feel you cannot hear well, call a hearing professional immediately.

Get your ears checked once in a year to ensure their good health. In case of any ear problem such as pain, discharge, itching, blockage, hearing loss contact a qualified doctor. If required, get the ears cleaned only by a qualified doctor.
Source: Sound Hearing 2030

Ear Infections (Otitis Media)

Ear infections happen when the middle ear becomes inflamed. The middle ear is the small space behind the eardrum. Ear infections are also called acute otitis media. They can happen in one or both ears and are among the most common sicknesses during childhood and can be painful. Ear infections are so common in children because the passage between the middle ear and the back of the throat is smaller and more horizontal in children than in adults. This allows it to be more easily blocked by infections in the ear.

Sometimes children get fluid in their middle ear but do not have an infection. When fluid is present in the ear for a prolonged period of time, this can pose a risk of hearing loss. Hearing loss at a young age can affect typical speech and language development.

If you see your child exhibiting any of the following signs, contact your child's doctor or an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist

  • Tugging or pulling at the ear
  • Crying more than usual
  • Fever
  • Not responding to sounds
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Drainage from the ear

Talk with your child's doctor about what is best for your child. It is important to keep follow-up appointments. A physician should handle the medical treatment. Ear infections require immediate attention, most likely from a pediatrician or otolaryngologist (ENT). If your child has frequently recurring infections and/or chronic fluid in the middle ear, two additional specialists should be consulted: an Audiologist and a Speech-Language Pathologist.

Additional Information: American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA)