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About HealthStatus Team

HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

How Hearing Loss Occurs

Here are the various ways in which hearing loss occurs.

Infections

It is among the number one causes of hearing loss. Luckily, it can be easily treated. Also referred to as Otitis Media, ear infections cause inflammations in the middle ear. In extreme cases, mucus gathers and blocks the Eustachian tube as a result of allergies or cold. When this happens, the drainage and pressure maintenance within the ear fails. Fluid build-up attracts bacteria which multiplies and continue their cycle until hearing starts to diminish. The thickness of the build-up fluid influences how much you can hear. The lowest will be 24 decibels with the highest being 42. However, this condition can be treated within the first ten days with antibiotics until it clears. Failure to treat ear infections lead to lots of problems in the long run.

Loud Noises

Loud noises, believe it or not, can cause permanent loss of hearing. This especially happens when one is exposed to loud noises for a long time. About 70%, said a 2011-2012 survey by National Health and Nutrition Examination, of people exposed to loud noise never or hardly wear hearing protection. What this means is that many of those exposed to loud noises are susceptible to hearing loss. How does this happen? The hair cells get damaged, and without them, we will hear nothing. Some of the loud noises that can cause deafness include loud music, especially on headphones or earphones, plane take-offs, traffic noise, sporting events, rock concerts, sirens and surprisingly, washing machines!

Age

Unfortunately, this is a cause which is inevitable and is bound to occur as you tend to grow older. It is the biggest cause of hearing loss and is commonly referred to as age-related hearing loss. In the medicine world, it is known as presbycusis.

At the age of 40, most people start experiencing hearing loss. By 80, they will have deteriorated to the point that they cannot hear voices of high frequency like children’s or women’s. Hearing some consonants also become increasingly harder. Why does this happen? The elasticity of some parts in the ear occurs, and hair cells damage slowly leading to less sound wave transmission to the brain. A hearing aid can be used in this case.

Earwax

Yes, it is another necessary evil we have to deal with. In as much as they protect the ear from the entry of foreign particles like dust and micro-organisms, they can cause blockage in the ear. The earwax (cerumen) produced by the ear is regularly flushed out. However, other times overproduction of cerumen occurs. When this happens, the earwax begins to slowly harden and blocks sound from traveling through the canal. This calls for the removal of the wax.

Some methods of earwax removal are risky and can lead to further worsening of the condition. Using ear buds or cotton swabs is an effective way for some but what they do not know is that over time, it causes ear compaction that will call for a need to visit the doctor. The ideal way to remove earwax is by using hydrogen peroxide or mineral oils. For extreme cases, medical attention would be appropriate.

Eardrum Problems

Eardrums can either get raptured or damaged causing partial or permanent loss of hearing. Complacency in attending to or seeking medical assistance in case of an ear infection have long term problems. Untreated, it causes pressure imbalance which eventually bursts the eardrum. The pressure may result in a tear in the various layers of the eardrum; the thin membrane, the firm middle layer or the outer skin layer, which plays the role of a barrier between the inner and outer ear. Loud noises, nonetheless, can also cause an eardrum perforation which in turn refuses to let the sound go through in the ear. Some perforations caused this way sometimes close automatically after a while, however, in some cases, surgery becomes a necessity.

The eardrum can also get damaged in some ways. A good example is by trying to remove earwax using sharp objects or using other crude methods to remove them. This leads to gradual hearing loss. Hair cells that distinguish soft from loud noise in the eardrum, similarly, can be interfered with or damaged. This makes them to either get a little stimulated or fail completely to pick sound. Since there is no solution for the broken-down hair, hearing aids become the next best cure for this cause.

Cholesteatoma

Probably, you’ve never heard of this condition but is one other thing to worry about when it comes to hearing problems. It is an unusual and out of the norm condition that leads to the formation of skin cells inside the ear. It results from a malfunction of the eustachian tube or a collapsed eardrum due to damage which provides a receptacle for dead skin cells produced by the ear to collect. It is also a hereditary condition. Untreated, it becomes lethal as it gradually grows to a point where the tiny bones in the inner ear and the organs for hearing become damaged. It also causes infections that produce a discharge in the ear, vertigo and tinnitus which are all detrimental to one’s hearing.

Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis is a common cause of mild to severe hearing loss in young adults. It refers to a condition in which a bone growth develops abnormally in the ear. When sound waves hit the three small bones in the ear, they transmit sound to the cochlea which converts and sends them to the brain. In the case of otosclerosis, the bones fuse together and remain fixed and unable to vibrate. What this means is that no sound will be transmitted to the cochlea and nothing to the brain. It affects one or both ears and is characterized by quiet speeches, difficulty in hearing low or deep sounds which includes whispers and funny enough, the ability to hear when there is noise in the background. When it spreads to the inner ear, a lot of damage can occur. It can be corrected through hearing aids or surgery.

Head Injury

Physical injury to the head can cause a myriad of medical related problems and hearing loss is one of them. A skull fracture, for instance, can puncture a hole in the eardrum and damage the structures that enable for sound wave vibrations. This results in hearing loss.

Tumors

Tumors are benign or cancerous growths that cause severe health problems. It apparently causes hearing loss as well. Examples include meningioma, acoustic neuroma, and paraganglioma. It causes ringing in the ears, and over time, the inner ear gets affected leading to complete hearing loss.
Not limited to the above causes and how they lead to the occurrence of hearing loss, other factors or diseases like measles, mumps, syphilis, and meningitis. Meniere’s disease, poor ear formation, medications like antibiotics, excessive amounts of aspirin, radiotherapy for certain types of cancer, chemotherapy drugs, hereditary factors, brain inflammations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune conditions to say the least also contribute to the condition.

All these conditions and diseases cause either partial or complete loss of hearing in one way or another. Consequently, they all have different ways of treating or curing them. The most common way and solution for partial hearing are through hearing aids. Nonetheless, what you ought to know is that the cost accompanied with the treatment of hearing loss, depending on the cause and mode of cure is costly enough if not treated at early stages.

Action Steps:

Good Ear Hygiene

Cause of Itchy Ears

Lack of Moisture:  Lacking natural lubrication of your ear’s skin leads to your ears becoming itchy. Excessive cleaning of the ear dries out the natural oils found in your ear, and only replenishing the moisture can fix this issue.

Hearing Aids:  Hearing aids can also cause skin irritation in the inner ear if not checked from time to time. Monitoring the hearing aid is imperative, so you don’t keep trapped sweat or water in the ear canal.

Infections:  A sinus infection can affect your ears.  If your ears are itchy due to a sinus infection an antihistamine may help.  Your health care professional should examine your ears when diagnosing a sinus infection.

Keep Your Ears Itch Free

Wash: Maintaining your ears dry, clean, and naturally moisturized is the only way to make sure they’re healthy and free of any irritation. After a shower, pat your ears in a gentle fashion to reduce risks of infection, itchiness, and to stave off any bacteria.

Moisturize:  Skin that dries easily needs a specific homemade remedy to relieve itchiness and infections. Adding a couple of garlic cloves to olive oil and crushing them to release the natural oils is the best way to keep your ears itch free.

Heat the oils in low flame until boiling, then let it cool and a few drops to the inner ear to soothe irritation. Mixing equal parts of distilled white vinegar with rubbing alcohol will also relieve itchiness. Two to three drops in the ear will do the job.

Wash Bedding:  Minimizing risk of itchiness can be done by throwing your pillowcase in the washer as much as possible.

Test for Allergies:  To know if you’re allergic to feather pillows, try an artificial one to see if the fibers have been causing your itchiness.

Take Medication:  If being treated for an ear infection, take your medicine as prescribed.

What is Glue Ear?

Middle ear effusion is the buildup of sticky and thick fluid in the ear, better known as ear glue. This condition blocks the middle ear and can affect your hearing or balance.

Glue ear is a painless condition and affects young children more than others. Your son’s or daughter’s behavior and progress in school can be affected if not treated promptly and adequately.

This common condition develops after an ear infection, but the cause is often unknown. Glue ear prevents the small bones in the middle ear from moving regularly and subsequently brings about hearing troubles.

If your child displays signs of ear glue, take them to an ear specialist as soon as possible to receive antibiotics. Since it’s a painless condition, your child won’t have any earaches, which is why regular checkups are so important.

Overall Hygiene

Do not overlook ear care during your daily hygienic routine, and remember only to clean the outer ear. Again, refrain from using any cotton swab-like instrument to clean out the ear wax.

Whatever goes inside or outside your ears, such as earrings or hearing aids, should be cleaned on a daily basis to avoid any germs entering your ear. Avoid sleeping with piercings and remove all hair products like gel before bed.

Gels can dry buildup in and around your ear and can irritate the skin. Sleeping with a product in your hair not only dries your hair, but it also dries the skin surrounding your ears.

 

Now that you know how to keep your ears happy and healthy do not neglect to implement the methods discussed above. Forgetting of your ear hygiene for even just a few days could lead to an irreversible loss of hearing.  You brush your teeth daily, so why neglect ear care?

What to Expect If Your Eardrum Ruptures

Additional Testing

There are some tests that can be used to positively diagnose an eardrum rupture should you require additional examination.

Tympanogram – A medical apparatus is inserted in your ear canal and measures responsiveness of your eardrum to air pressure. Short bursts of air will be blown against the eardrum and the medical professional will check the response. Patterns of response can determine a perforation.

Tuning Fork Examination – Using a tuning fork, your doctor will determine if there is any hearing loss by striking the two-pronged instrument around your ear. If there is any hearing loss, it can also be determined if the loss is caused by certain areas in your ear including the sensors and nerves of the inner ear.

Audiology Examination – If the tuning fork examination does not give conclusive results, your doctor may order additional audio testing to be done. You will be put into a soundproof room and your hearing will be measured by your ability to hear different noises at varying pitches and volumes.

Lab Testing — If your ear has discharge or pus coming from the ear, your doctor may order a culture to determine infection and infection type. It is possible to identify if the fluid and resulting infection is coming from the middle ear.

If otoscope examination or any additional testing has come back positive for an eardrum rupture, your doctor will determine your treatment plan.

Treatment

Thankfully, the majority of eardrum ruptures will heal on their own and within a few months’ time. If there is any chance or signs of infection, you will be prescribed antibiotic ear drops or oral medication to be taken daily according to your doctor. If there is any pain associated with the rupture, your doctor may allow you to take certain over-the-counter pain medications or suggest additional pain treatment.

If the injury is more severe, or is not healing on its own, additional treatment will be needed to help close the perforation. The treatments may include the following:

Ear Patch – An ENT specialist may seal the hole or tear with an eardrum patch if it is slow to heal on its own. Depending on the severity and your medical history, local or general anesthesia is given. If using local anesthesia, it is commonly used with additional medicine that will help sedate you during the procedure.

The specialist will cut either behind your ear or inside the canal to gain access. If there is any infection or dead tissue, it will be cleaned out. If the hole is small, a gel or medical patch will be placed over the hole. This procedure only takes about 30 minutes.

Tympanoplasty – If the patch does not work, or your doctor determines it is not the correct course of treatment, you may be a candidate for surgery. Tympanoplasty is a surgery where the patch is made by your own grafted tissue or muscle membrane.

Typically, under general anesthesia, you should be able to go home the same day after the 2-3 hour process unless a condition warrants you stay for observation.

To protect the ear, ear packing material will be placed in the ear for the first week or so. A bandage or dressing can be placed in front for additional coverage.

After Treatment

There will be some guidelines to follow after your doctor’s examination. Whether your ear is healing on its own, or requires medical intervention, your doctor will require you to abide by the following rules.

Avoid Water – Do not allow water to go in the ear. This means no swimming or any water activity. When showering, place cotton, dressing, or bandaging coated with petroleum jelly in and around the outer ear. Wearing a shower cap is also recommended.

Avoid Ear Popping – Do not blow your nose or pop your ears in any way. If you must sneeze, do not hold it in, instead, sneeze with your mouth. Mucus should be suctioned or swallowed.

Avoid Traveling – Avoid any air travel. The pressure in the airplane can cause your ear to pop further, increasing the rupture and causing increased pain.

No Rubbing — Do not rub or aggravate the inner or outer ear. Take caution when wiping away any ear drainage or pus. Gently blot the area with a clean tissue.

Avoid Crowds – Avoid crowds so you will not be susceptible to any colds or illness.
In addition, always take the full course of medications that have been prescribed to you and do not use any over-the-counter or additional prescription medications that have not been approved by your doctor.

There may be some pain while your ear heals. This is normal and expected. If the pain is unbearable or changes intensity, consult with your doctor.

Total recovery will take several weeks. Once fully healed, hearing loss will be minimal to none, symptoms should be fully treated.

Post Treatment

Once several weeks have passed, your doctor will require you to visit the office for a final examination. An otoscope may be used to view the treated rupture and any follow up information will be given. Your doctor will outline some guidelines to follow to avoid getting an ear drum rupture again. They may include the following:

Treat Infection –- If you experience any signs of ear infection, seek treatment immediately. Typical symptoms include fever, earache and loss of hearing. Do not rub or tug on the ear.

Travel — Once you have been cleared for air travel, do not fly if you are sick or experiencing allergies. If you have congestion, this could cause additional damage to the ear due to the changing cabin pressures.

Always wear ear plugs, specifically during take-off and landing. Chew gum if you can or gently blow out the ears by plugging your nose and mouth to reduce ear pressure.

Protect Ears from Noise – Protect your ears from loud noises and environments. If you work in a space that is excessively noisy, use earplugs or muffs at all times. Vibrations can further damage or re-rupture the eardrum.

Foreign Object — Avoid cleaning your ears with swabs or any other object. If you have earwax or debris build-up, schedule an appointment with your doctor to get the ear professionally cleaned. Putting a foreign object in the ear can result in additional damage if done wrong.

Treatment for an eardrum rupture typically does not require any medical intervention and can heal on its own within a short amount of time. Always consult with your doctor and follow the medical plan if you suspect you may have ruptured your eardrum. If left on its own, severe damage and hearing loss can occur.

Action Steps:

Hearing, Hearing Loss, and Hearing Aids

Which Hearing Aid Should You Choose?

The hearing aid that is right for you depends on the type and severity of your hearing loss. If you have issues in both of your ears, then you will probably need a binaural set- a hearing aid in each ear. Binaural hearing is advantageous to perceive sounds in a balanced way – which improves your hearing ability in challenging situations such as a noisy restaurant setting.

There is a wide range of prices for hearing aids. Just because a device is more expensive does not mean that it would better suit your needs.  Do your research online for best features and prices, or consult with a hearing professional.

New Types of Hearing Aids

-Implantable hearing aids

New implantable hearing aids are designed to help the transmission of sound vibrations entering the inner ear. A middle-ear implant is a small device that attaches to one of the bones of the middle ear. Instead of amplifying the sound, this type of device moves the bones themselves.

-Bone-anchored hearing aid

A bone-anchored hearing aid is a small device that connects to a bone behind the ear. This device transmits sound vibrations to the inner ear through the skull. Surgery is required to implant either of these types of devices.

-Self-programming hearing aids

Self-programming hearing aids that can be purchased online and programmed at home with remote professional support (telemedicine) is a new option that can save you time and money and works for the most common types of hearing loss that are not associated with a medical condition.

Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids

Although most health insurance plans do not cover hearing aids, some do. Medicaid will pay some of the costs involved for children and young adults.

Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids for adults. There are some nonprofit organizations that provide financial assistance for hearing aids. You should contact the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Information Clearinghouse.

Action Steps:

Your Sinuses and How Issues Can Affect Your Hearing

Are There Certain Foods to Eat?

Allergies can affect anyone from time to time, but if you have daily sinus pressure it can get in the way of your everyday activities. For people with chronic sinusitis, a symptom flare up can happen anywhere, anytime — especially on days that are high pollen count days or very dry. There are lots of medicines that can treat these but often times it’s great to start with your diet. Eating a diet that is designed to minimize your issue also boost your immune system and improve your skin health, all while fighting inflammation. A well-rounded diet decreases inflammation and fights bacteria often cause sinus infections. There are other foods that help to decongest passages and prevent inflammation.

Omega 3 fatty acids are ideal for reducing swelling and you get this by eating wild salmon, cod, or other Omega-rich fish. Tart cherries are known to reduce inflammation much better than ibuprofen and, aside from being yummy, can also reduce your risk for heart disease. Turmeric spice, found often in Thai and Indian food, has curcumin which actively combats swelling. Avocado, beans, eggs, dark leafy greens and spices like ginger and cayenne pepper, are all on the list of foods to eat to nip sinusitis in the bud. By eating these foods, you are boosting your overall health and improving your quality of life if you are a chronic sufferer.

Eating a lot of spicy foods, such as horseradish, can open congested sinuses. Obviously, only eating spicy foods will not rid of your sinusitis, but will help keep the sinus passages open and provide temporary relief. Only do this if your stomach can handle it: there is no sense in causing one problem in the efforts to solve another! Fruits and vegetables are always a great option when considering low-mucus producing foods. The average adult is recommended to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and further encouraged to replace pre-packaged snacks with fresh produce.

Some other foods and drinks to consider:

Decaffeinated tea or homemade chicken soup, as warm fluids help break up congestion;
Fish or other Omega 3 fatty foods;
Yogurt contains healthy probiotics which can help fight any infection; and,
Honey is a common treatment because it contains natural antibiotics.

Try to limit fruits belonging to the citrus group such as lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit. Vegetables and a diet rich in vitamin A is ideal defense against sinus problems because vitamin A is known to rebuild healthy mucus membranes. Some sources include egg yolk, pumpkin, carrot, dark leafy vegetables, mango and papaya.

Some foods to avoid and guidelines:

Fried foods;
Starchy foods;
White sugar;
Too strong spices;
Fermented foods like mustard and mayonnaise, which causes an imbalance in your body’s PH.
Meats (as they can contain allergens that can cause a symptom flare up); and,
Some dairy products (like whole milk), can cause the overproduction of mucus and congestion.

Sardines, seaweed and leafy green vegetables which are optimal sources of calcium in the absence of dairy.
It is much better to eat fruit than drink fruit juice as they have a higher concentration of sugars.
Avoid caffeine as it weakens your adrenal glands, which are essential in overall upkeep of your sinus health.

You can open your blocked Eustachian tubes by closing your mouth, holding your nose, and gently blowing. This is also good to try if yawning and chewing gum hasn’t helped. In a more serious case, you may need surgery to drain the fluid out and relieve any pressure by putting a small tube in the eardrum, which falls out when it heals.

Hearing loss can affect you gradually, getting a hearing test allows you to set a baseline for future measure, or show if you already have significant loss and allow to consider your options.

If you put to work all of these solutions for treating sinus and sinus-related hearing issues, and continue a lifestyle and diet that are beneficial, you can hope to see results almost immediately.

Action Steps:

What is BMI

How To Calculate BMI? And What is BMI?

In recent years, you may have heard a lot about BMI measurements but not known exactly what it is. BMI or body mass index is one way of measuring a person’s health and relative body size. It is an indirect way to measure your body fat content in comparison to your height, which represents your body fat content. Body mass index is equal to your weight in kilograms divided by your height in centimeters squared. This measure works best on men and women over age 20. BMI is a great way to measure body fat if you are on a budget, as it costs nothing and can be done by yourself at home. Continue reading

18 Things Only Other Pregnant Women Will Tell You

This article, “18 Things Only Other Pregnant Women Will Tell You”, is chock full of answers to questions for first time Mothers. Every new Mom wonders all the how, when and, why questions. You’ll receive the answers on body changes, emotional , change, the baby and more (even sex)!. You’ll find the answers are sometimes humorous and sometimes serious! If you ask friends, everyone has a different opinion and sometimes not the right info. If you ask your Mom, sometimes the answers are outdated (sorry Mom). Enjoy reading this article and relax and enjoy your pregnancy! It is an event of you life time!

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