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Why do I have ear wax?


Ear wax (cerumen) is normal to have in your ears. Cerumen is secreted by the ear canal. It's purpose is to help with cleaning and lubercation in addition it also helps protecting against bacteria, fungi, and insects. However, excess or impacted cerumen can press against the eardrum blocking the external auditory canal and impairing hearing.


What causes swimmer's ear (otitis externa)


Otitis externa is a bacterial infection of the outer ear and ear canal causing inflamation causing an earache. It is typically caused by exposure to water.


What causes an ear infection (otitis media)?


An ear infection occurs when there is improper drainage of the fluid that collects behind the ear drum during a cold, allergy or upper respiratory infection and is accompanied with the presence of bacteria or viruses. This causes an inflamation in the middle ear which will give the pain of an earache. Otitis media can vary depending on severity.


What are "ear tubes"?


The common treatment to otitis media is proper medication, however, sometimes medication is not enough. Persistant infections may require a means to drain fluid and pressure from behind the ear drum by placing tubes in the ear. Ear tubes are tiny cylinders placed through the ear drum (tympanic membrane) to allow air in the middle ear. They may also be called tympanostomy tubes, myringotomy tubes, ventilation tubes, or PE (pressure equalization) tumbes. The tubes are plastic or metal tubes similar in shape to an empty spool of thread. There are two types of ear tubes: short term and long term. Short-term tubes are smaller and generally stay in place six months to a year before falling out on their own. Long-term tubes are larger and have flanges that secure them in place for a longer period of time. Long-term tubes may fall out on their own but surgical removal is often necessary. Children are the most common patients for ear tubes however older patients may also need ear tubes. The benefits of ear tubes include: reducing the risk of future ear infections, restoring hearing loss caused by middle ear fluid, and improving speech problems and balance problems.


What is tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?


Tinnitus is the perception of ringing in the human ear. In some patients it can take such forms as whizzing, buzzing, clicking, roaring, hissing, humming or whistling sound. It can be perceived in one or both ears. Tinnitus is a very common symptom and can be very distracting and annoying for the sufferer.


What might cause tinnitus?


There are many causes including a plug of wax, allergy, ear infection, circulatory problems, certain medications, and the most common cause-prolonged exposure to loud noises.

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