Friday, June 8, 2012

Parts of the Ear's and Type of Hearing Loss

Our ears is very delicate organs in our body that easily injured. Knowing enough about our ears will help us care for them against infection and deafness.
The outer ear is connected by the auditory canal to the middle and inner ears which are hidden in our skull. The eardrum is part of the middle ear which vibrates when sound waves strike it. These vibrations affect the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup these 3 is tiniest bones in our body, also in the middle ear which in turn, pass on the vibrations to the fluid in the cochlea in the inner ear, where the sensory cells for hearing are located, and then to nerve impulses and to the brain where the response is determined.
The semicircular canals in the inner ear are involved in the body's physical balance. Unnatural movement, as when traveling, causes motion sickness.
Infections easily occur when you pick on boils and pimples in the outer ear, try to get foreign bodies or excessive was out of the ear without appropriate skill. Otherwise, infections from the nose or throat also manage to inhabit the middle ear through the Eustachian tube.
One such infection is called otitis media, a dangerous and painful ear condition that can damage hearing. It is an inflammation that can spread to the adjoining region in the jaws and reach up to the brain. Antibiotics such as penicillin have proved to be effective treatment against it.
Middle-ear infections can be prevented by refraining from blowing your nose too hard when you have a cold or another upper respiratory infection. When you blow, do so only when necessary and leaving both nostrils open. When swimming, stay out of the water when suffering from a cold, especially when you have sinus trouble. Avoid diving and wear caps or plugs when in the water.
Caring for our ears requires a lot of common sense and professional help at times. Earaches and broken eardrum are also a physician's area of jurisdiction. Never attempt to remedy these yourself. Modern medications can correct the conditions by bringing the pus or serum to escape.
If an insect or object gets into the ear, there is little danger to the ear, unless an unskilled person tries to take it out. Using a hairpin or toothpick can, in fact, damage the ear. Simply use a flashlight, focusing it inside the ear, or a few drops of oil or even water to flush the insect out.
Mastoiditis, an extensive inflammation of the mastoid process, a bony protuberance behind the ear, should be treated promptly with antibiotics. surgery is sometimes resorted to.
A running ear means that a chronic lesion, usually a continuous low-grade inflammation of the middle ear, exists. Medical examination is warranted.
The ear canal secretes wax probably to keep the canal from drying up too much. It hardens and forms a firm ball especially if you live or work in dusty places. Leave the removal of such wax to medical experts, as it can introduce infection or eardrum injury if this is done by a non-professional. Just clean the outer part of the ear.
Deafness can also be prevented. Deafness results from disease or any abnormality of any part of the hearing mechanism. It is either conductive (for lower and middle sound tones) or perceptive (higher frequencies) deafness. It can be caused by heredity, injury to the ear, middle-ear infection, noise or the degenerative process.
Deafness can occur with striking, blowing or boxing the ears; chronic inflammation, such as diseased tonsils and adenoids; exposure to loud sounds; and the progressive loss of hearing in persons 50 years old and older. Degenerative deafness can be controlled or delayed by guarding against ear infections and by protecting the ears from noise and injury.
Hearing loss results when something goes wrong along the sound pathway from your outer ear to your brain. There are three main types of hearing loss, categorized by where on the pathway signals become blocked or interrupted:
  1. Conductive hearing loss. This occurs when the outer or middle ear fails to work properly. sounds become "blocked" and aren't carried to the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss is often treatable- the problem can be fixed with medicine, surgery, or something as simple as cleaning out your ear canal. Common causes are fluid behind the eardrum or wax buildup in the ear canal. This type of hearing loss can also occur when the eardrum or bones of the middle ear don't function normally, due to an injury or other medical conditions.
  2. Sensorineural hearing loss. This results when the inner ear is damaged. The most common causes are wear and tear on inner ear structures due to aging and noise exposure. Sensorineural hearing loss usually isn't treatable with medication or surgery. Sometimes, hearing loss occurs when the auditory nerve or the nervous system is damaged. One cause of this type of hearing loss is a non-cancerous (benign) tumor, such as an acoustic neuroma, that presses on the auditory nerve. Surgery is generally necessary to remove the tumor.
  3. Mixed hearing loss. This is the description of a condition in which you have a combination of a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Most hearing loss results from damage to the cochlea, the snail-shaped structure in the inner ear. Tiny hairs in the cochlea may break or become damaged, and hair cells may deteriorate. When the cells or the hairs are damaged or missing, electrical signals aren't transmitted as efficiently and hearing loss occurs.
Factors that may damage or lead to loss of hairs and cells in your inner ear include:
  1. Aging. Normal wear and tear over the years from sound can damage the cells of your inner ear. Age-related hearing loss is the most common cause of hearing loss.
  2. Loud noises. Occupational noise, such as from construction, factory work or farming and recreational noise, such as from shooting firearms, big bike racing, or listening to loud music, can contribute to damage inside your inner ear.
  3. Heredity. Your genetic makeup may make you more susceptible to ear damage.
  4. Some medications. Drugs such as the antibiotic gentamicin and certain chemotherapy drugs can damage your inner ear. Usually temporary effects on your hearing, ringing in the ear or hearing loss can occur if you take very high doses of aspirin, certain types of diuretcis such as furosemide or some drugs used to treat malaria.
  5. Some illnesses. Certain diseases or illnesses that result in an infection, such as meningitis, can damage the cochlea.

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