Earwax (ear wax) is a natural substance secreted by special glands in the skin on the outer part of the ear canal. It repels water, and traps dust and sand particles. Usually a small amount of wax accumulates, dries up, and then falls out of the ear canal carrying with it unwanted particles. Under ideal circumstances, you should never have to clean your ear canals. The absence of ear wax may result in dry, itchy ears, and even infection. Ear wax may accumulate in the ear for a variety of reasons including; narrowing of the ear canal, production of less ear wax due to aging, or an overproduction of ear wax in response to trauma or blockage within the ear canal. Read more: Earwax Removal Article
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Ear Infection Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Learn about the causes and symptoms of ear infections and how they are diagnosed and treated. Read about treatments such as ear...
Tinnitus: Why Are My Ears Ringing?
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Ear Infections: All About Ear Conditions
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Human Body Quiz: Human Body Systems & Organs
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Ear Infection Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
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Ear Health Quiz
How loud is too loud? Take this quiz to learn about your ears, how they function, and how to keep them healthy.
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Related Disease Conditions
How Can I Dry Up Fluid in My Inner Ear?
There are many ways for water to get into your ear. These five home remedies can help dry or drain the fluid from your ears.
Inner Ear Infection
An inner ear infection or otitis interna is caused by viruses or bacteria and can occur in both adults and children. An inner ear infection can cause symptoms and signs, for example, a severe ear, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, and vertigo. An inner ear infection also may cause inflammation of the inner ear or labyrinthitis. Inner ear infections are not contagious; however, the bacteria and viruses that cause the infection can be transmitted to other people. Good hygiene practices will help decrease the chances of the infection spreading to others. Inner ear infection symptoms and signs like ear pain and nausea may be relieved with home remedies or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Some inner ear infections will need to be treated and cured with antibiotics or prescription pain or antinausea medication.
How Do You Clear Blocked Eustachian Tubes?
Learn what medical treatments can help ease your blocked eustachian tube symptoms and speed up your recovery for blocked eustachian tubes. Ear infections are common and usually go away on their own after a few days, even without medical treatment. Learn about causes and treatment.
Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
A middle ear infection (otitis media) can cause earache, temporary hearing loss, and pus drainage from the ear. It is most common in babies, toddlers, and young children. Learn about causes and treatment.
How Can I Unclog My Ears at Home?
Clogged or stuffy ears may cause considerable discomfort that includes ear fullness, dizziness, muffled hearing, ringing in the ears and ear pain. Home remedies to unclog your ears include chewing, ear irrigation, performing the Valsalva maneuver, applying warm compresses, using OTC nasal decongestants or or putting oil drops or hydrogen peroxide into the affected ear.
Ear Infection Home Treatment
Infections of the outer, middle, and inner ear usually are caused by viruses. Most outer (swimmer's ear) and middle ear (otitis media) infections can be treated at home with remedies like warm compresses for ear pain relief, tea tree, ginger, or garlic oil drops. Symptoms of an outer ear (swimmer's ear) and middle ear infection include mild to severe ear pain, pus draining from the ear, swelling and redness in the ear, and hearing problems. Middle and inner ear infections may cause fever, and balance problems. Inner ear infections also may cause nausea, vomiting, vertigo, ringing in the ear, and labyrinthitis (inflammation of the inner ear). Most outer and middle ear infections do not need antibiotics. Inner ear infections should be treated by a doctor specializing in ear and hearing problems.
A perforated (ruptured, punctured) eardrum (tympanic membrane) is a hole or tear in the eardrum. The eardrum separates the ear canal and middle ear. Most ruptured eardrums do not cause pain, however, the condition can be uncomfortable. Bacteria, viral, and fungal infections are the most common causes a ruptured eardrum. Earwax removal attempts, changes in air pressure, and trauma are other causes of a ruptured eardrum. If you have a ruptured eardrum you may have symptoms like: Ear pain Partial or full hearing loss A mucousy or pus-like blood-tinged discharge from you ear Bleeding from the ear Ringing in the ear Vertigo Nausea Vomiting Middle ear infection Most people do not need medical treatment for a ruptured eardrum, however, some may need surgery depending upon the cause and size of the hole in the eardrum.REFERENCE: Cleveland Clinic. "Ruptured Eardrum (Perforated Tympanic Membrane)." Updated: Aug 208, 2014.
Inner Ear Infection (Labyrinthitis)
Labyrinthitis occurs when there is inflammation of the part of the ear responsible for balance and hearing), usually due to viral infections of the inner ear. Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
The Eustachian tube is a membrane-lined tube that connects the middle ear space to the back of the nose. Symptoms of Eustachian tube dysfunction or blockage include popping and/or clicking in the ear, and ear fullness and/or pain. Causes of Eustachian tube dysfunction or blockage include allergies, sinus infections, ear infections, and the common cold. Treatment includes home remedies to relieve pain and several maneuvers (swallowing, chewing gum, yawning, etc.), which can be done to improve Eustachian tube function. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Why Is My Ear Draining Yellow Fluid?
Have you noticed yellow fluid draining from your ear? Learn about ear discharge and what to do if it happens to you.
How Can You Unblock Your Ear?
There are times when your ears get clogged for various reasons. This can cause pain and discomfort and may affect your hearing. Chewing gum, eating hard candy, yawning, gargling and other strategies may help you unclog your ears.
Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)
Swimmer's ear (external otitis) is an infection of the skin that covers the outer ear canal. Causes of swimmer's ear include excessive water exposure that leads to trapped bacteria in the ear canal. Symptoms of simmer's include a feeling of fullness in the ear, itching, and ear pain. Chronic swimmer's ear may be caused by eczema, seborrhea, fungus, chronic irritation, and other conditions. Common treatment includes antibiotic ear drops.
Foreign Objects or Insects in the Ear
Objects or insects in the ear can be placed in the ear by patients themselves or an insect crawling in the ear. Earwax can also cause ear problems if Q-tips are overused to clean the ears. Symptoms and signs of an object in the ear are inflammation and sensitivity, redness, or discharge of pus or blood. When to seek medical care for an object or insect in the ear is included in the article information.
Children's health is focused on the well-being of children from conception through adolescence. There are many aspects of children's health, including growth and development, illnesses, injuries, behavior, mental illness, family health, and community health.
Hearing loss (deafness) may be present at birth or it may manifest later in life. Deafness may be genetic or due to damage from noise. Treatment of deafness depends upon its cause. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by conditions affecting the cochlea, eighth cranial nerve, spinal cord, or brain. Examples of conditions that can lead to sensorineural hearing loss include Meniere's disease, noise-induced hearing loss, hearing loss of aging (presbycusis), nerve injury from syphilis, hearing loss of unknown cause (idiopathic hearing loss), nerve tumors, and drug toxicity (such as aspirin and aminoglycosides).
How Do You Know if Ear Pain Is Serious?
How do you know if ear pain is serious? Learn the signs of ear problems and when to see a doctor.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Its Prevention
Noise-induced hearing loss may be an acoustic trauma, which causes temporary hearing loss, or it may be permanent due to an acute acoustic trauma. Experts agree that continual exposure to more than 85 dBs (decibels) is dangerous to the ears. Ear plugs and ear muffs can help prevent noise-induced hearing loss as well as decreasing exposure to loud noises.
Earache: 11 Effective Home Remedies
Most earaches are not medical emergencies and can often be treated at home. You can try one or a few of the following remedies before visiting a doctor including warm compresses, cold compresses, pain medications, hydration, humidity, ear drops, chewing gum, sucking on candy, nasal spray or alternating your sleeping position to relieve earache symptoms.
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