Ear Health

As the summer months settle in I’m sure most of you will be hitting the beach or the local pool. But beware, the easiest things to infect while you’re in the water are your ears!

Ear infections are very common; each year one in 100 people consult a doctor with the problem. They often occur after swimming because damp skin can easily be infected from bacteria in the water. The only way to avoid such infections (often called ‘surfer’s ear’) is by wearing earplugs when swimming.The symptoms of an infected ear are irritation, and later sharp pain. In really bad cases pus may discharge from the ear, which can eventually lead to hearing loss if you don’t get it checked out.If you happen to get an infection in your ear the first thing you should do is take a painkiller to numb the pain. Next, place a warm, dry cotton-wool pad over the ear to help relieve the pain. Then, of course, see a doctor.Your ears are very sensitive organs that need to be taken care of. That means getting them cleaned on a regular basis. However, you should never ever put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear at any time – which basically means nothing at all! So go and see your doctor who will clean the wax out of your ears with a special syringe. You’ll be amazed how much better your hearing is after this!Last but not least, your ears are very sensitive to sound. If you are at a disco or near loud music, remember to stay away from the speakers. Too much exposure to loud music can cause a condition known as tinnitus (or ‘disco ear’) that is characterised by a ringing in the ear. This is commonly brought on by too much exposure to loud music (including walkmans). However it can also develop after an ear infection (usually middle ear).So always remember to take care of your ears and when in doubt, see a doctor!

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