5 Common Ear Problems

We take our hearing for granted, and it’s only when we experience problems with our ears that we suddenly realize how vital our auditory senses are to our daily life. There are a variety of reasons why you could begin to experience issued with our hearing. However, some forms of ear problems are more common than others.

We put together this list of 5 common ear problems you may encounter that may lead to hearing loss. If you notice any of the signs of hearing loss, speak to your doctor about treatment. Most cases are easy to treat with the use of affordable hearing aids.

1. Tinnitus

Tinnitus describes a constant ringing sensation in the ears. Affected individuals report that the intensity of the ringing may increase or decrease throughout the course of the day.

In some cases, tinnitus symptoms may be so severe that the affected individual can’t get to sleep at night. Severe cases of this hearing disorder require medical treatment. Some experts suggest that using hearing aid devices can reduce the symptoms of the condition.

Tinnitus affects up to 15 to 20-percent of all Americans, with most cases occurring after the age of 65-years old. The disorder is often a symptom of an underlying health issue, such as blood pressure issues, or circulatory disorders. In some cases, tinnitus can occur after the vestibular system sustains blunt force trauma, but in most cases, this type of tinnitus fades after a few days at the most.

Although it’s a highly annoying condition, tinnitus is not a life-threatening disease, nor does it mean that you will have to live with the effects of the situation permanently. Most cases of tinnitus disappear after a few days or weeks.

2. Presbycusis

Presbycusis is the medical term for age-related hearing loss. This condition typically starts in the senior years of our life, with the disease affecting people beginning at the age of 65-years old. By the time most seniors reach 75-years old, over half of them are dealing with hearing loss.

The cause for the onset of hearing loss can have many reasons. Exposure to loud noises, such as construction sites or explosives during a career may accelerate early-onset hearing loss in some patients. Infection and drug-induced hearing loss can occur at any age, but it’s particularly noticeable in seniors.

It’s best for those seniors dealing with the effects of presbycusis, to visit your audiologist for a specialist consultation. Your physician will recommend the best hearing aids for your situation. Hearing aids cost anywhere from $100 to $5,000 depending on the brand and manufacturer. Speak to your insurance company about contributions to your hearing devices.

Rechargeable hearing aids are an excellent way to restore your hearing and increase your quality of life during your senior years.

3. Earwax Buildup

The ear canal contains tiny glands that produce a substance known as, “cerumen.” Most people know this as earwax – the oily, yellow stuff that you pick out of your ears with a q-tip. Medicine is still unclear as to the function of earwax, but some experts agree that its primary duty is to trap dust and other particles, preventing them from entering the ear canals.

However, in some cases, our ear begins to produce too much wax, and we may end up compacting it in the ear canal while cleaning our ears. This compaction of earwax requires removal, or there’s a chance it could develop into an ear infection.

People with an earwax blockage typically show signs of ear pain, as well as problems with their balance. It’s vital that you don’t try to dig the ear wax out, as this may further complicate the situation. Visit your doctor; they will flush the blockage using saline water. Your doctor may also prescribe medicated drops to dissolve the blockage.

Seniors deal with earwax blockages that reduce their hearing. In such a case, regular ear hygiene and the use of cheap hearing aids will help to remedy the situation.

4. Otosclerosis

This condition refers to the thickening of the stapes bone found in the inner ear. When the bone reaches a certain size, it fuses with the cochlea, resulting in hearing loss. This condition is the most common cause of early-onset deafness in young adults, and medical science is still at a loss to explain the exact reason for the condition.

Some doctors think that the condition may be hereditary, and “triggered” through infection with the measles or shingles.

Affected individuals should read hearing aid reviews to find a suitable model to suit their lifestyle needs. It’s important to note that hearing aid price is not always an indication of the quality of the product. Something like the “HearingHero,” can provide you with excellent hearing aid functionality, as well as a comfortable user experience – without a hefty price tag.

5. Ear Infection

Infection is the most common problem affecting the ears. Exposure to fresh water and salt water sources in dams, lakes, and streams, means that you run the risk of contracting a virus or bacteria that can affect your ear canals. These viral and bacterial infections typically present symptoms of pain and discomfort in the early stages.

It’s possible to cure most ear infection using antibiotic eardrops available on prescription from your doctor. The virus should start to clear within 24-hours of beginning use of the medicated drops, providing relief to the infected individual.

Other related infections such as diseases like the mumps, shingles, or measles, can also cause hearing loss and issues with the ears. However, many of these diseases have hearing loss as a symptom, and the condition typically clears as the primary infection declines.

People with the flu or sinusitis may also develop infections of the ear canal and Eustachian tubes. These pathways connect the ears to the throat, allowing them to drain. When infection blocks the sinus, the fluids can’t drain – resulting in inflammation that leads to hearing loss.

Wrapping Up – Speak to Your Doctor

If you experience any ear infection that lasts for longer than 72-hours, make an appointment with your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Ear infections lasting longer than 48-hours typically mean that you have an underlying bacterial or viral infection and require medication to clear the virus and protect your hearing.