Audiology is the study of hearing, balance, and vestibular (balance) disorders. People who work in the audiology field are known as audiologists. Most people only think about this branch of medicine when they are experiencing problems, however, there are 4 key things you should know about audiology and how it relates to your overall health in order to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself.
Cerumen, more often referred to as ear wax, is a normal occurrence that provides a protective barrier for your ear canal. It has antibacterial and antifungal qualities that help keep the canal and eardrum healthy. However, too much earwax can build up and lead to different issues that warrant a professional earwax removal in order to remedy them. Symptoms like tinnitus, feeling like your ear is plugged, experiencing pain in the area, sudden hearing problems as well as dizzy spells, can all indicate that you have too much ear wax. Some people are more prone to having excessive earwax buildup, but it can occur in almost anyone, so it’s important to remember to keep note of your symptoms.
2. Ear Infections
Ear infections are also normal occurrences, particularly in children under the age of six. It might just be one of the most common audiology issues that people have. A cold or the flu can easily lead to an ear infection, and around 60 percent of children will have at least one by their third birthday. In most cases, home remedies are enough for a child to get rid of the infection on their own, but if it persists for more than a week, you should schedule an appointment with your audiologist to see what treatments are possible. This is especially true if you have had multiple ear infections over time, it is recommended that you seek professional help to figure out why they continue to occur because it could be an indicator of a more serious underlying condition.
3. Hearing Loss
The most common types of hearing loss are conductive or sensorineural hearing loss, and they both have different reasons behind them. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves become blocked somewhere between the outer ear and inner ear, so it’s important to remember that there might be an issue with wax buildup or another foreign object if you are experiencing problems. On the other hand, sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve, which is also known as the eighth cranial nerve. If you have sudden hearing loss in one ear but not the other, it could warrant a visit to your audiologist to see what the problem is because it could be a symptom of Meniere’s disease.
4. Regular Care
One of the more common reasons people experience audiology-related issues is the way they take care of their ears. Any audiologist will tell you that you should always take care of your ears properly and regularly. This includes avoiding super loud noises, not staying in noisy environments for longer than necessary, and using hearing protection when you must be around extreme noise. Additionally, using q-tips or other implements to clean your ears is not recommended. In most cases, the ear wax that needs to be removed will fall out on its own, and trying to remove it can cause damage or even push the wax further into your ear canal. Another thing to keep in mind is that, as you age, the ear wax can become harder, so this means that you might have to consult with a doctor about a proper care routine.
While it’s sometimes taken for granted, the study of hearing and ear health is a science. You can’t always expect to be able to take care of your ears on your own, and if you do experience any issues, make sure you visit an audiologist at your earliest convenience. This way they can determine what the problem is and how it can be best treated.