Let’s hear it for our ears

Ears are funny-looking fleshy flaps at the side of our heads, and if we are lucky we can ignore them most of the time. However, our ears are marvels of engineering and as such they should be respected and looked after.

Everyone knows that you should never put things inside your ears, and yet almost everyone has done it at some point or another – that deep-seated itch, the conviction that probing just a little deeper will scratch it, until – ouch! – you have gone too deep…

It is no laughing matter when ear wax (medical name cerumen) becomes impacted. This happens when build-up is pushed back into the ear canal, ironically usually from foreign objects being inserted into the ear in order to clear build-up.

Symptoms of a cerumen impaction can include partial loss of hearing in the affected ear, tinnitus, pain, irritation, itching, and a sensation of fullness in the ear, as well as discharge. However, arguably, the worst symptom of an earwax impaction is loss of balance and dizziness. This might not sound too bad, but dizziness can lead to injurious falls, and loss of balance can have a severe effect on the confidence and sociability of the sufferer.

These symptoms can often be mistaken for age-related hearing loss, so if any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, do not hesitate to make a doctor’s appointment – if it is hearing loss, then you will need to learn to manage it sooner rather than later, whereas if it is an impaction the sooner it is cleared, the sooner your hearing and ears will be back to normal.

A word of warning: many of these symptoms (pain, a sensation of fullness or water in the ears, tinnitus etc) can also be signs of an ear infection. Be especially wary as any one of the symptoms can be a sign of a deep ear infection – there is sometimes no pain or fever until the infection is well established, and symptoms can be very subtle and easily overlooked.

The good news is that an ear impaction is relatively easily cleared – a visit to the doctor should have you happily listening to your favourite music once again. Or you could pamper yourself with an Indian head massage which can work out your tension as it helps to loosen blockages, allowing your jaw movements to naturally clear it away. Take a look through our directory today to find the right practitioner for you.

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