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Posts Tagged ' eardrum'

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Wax Impaction

Cerumen (wax) impaction occurs when the external ear canal becomes blocked by an excessive amount of normally occurring wax. Cerumen is made by tiny glands in the outer aspect of the ear canal. Wax is very beneficial and its purpose includes protecting the outer ear from moisture and other things which might enter the canal. In most people, the ear is self cleaning and the wax will come out periodically on its own. In others, cerumen may accumulate faster than it extrudes itself, leading to blockage and hearing loss or a feeling of fullness or pressure. The most common cause of cerumen impaction is placing some object in the ear to try to remove the wax (Q-tip, bobby pin, or the top of a pen). In addition, water may sometimes get around the impacted cerumen and the warm and dark environment may lead to a bacterial of fungal infection. The Physicians at Capitol Ear, Nose, & Throat recommend that the first time you experience cerumen impaction, you should be evaluated by a physician to make sure there is ...

Eustachian Tube Problems

What is the Eustachian tube? The Eustachian tube is a narrow tube-like passageway that connects the thimble-sized space behind the eardrum (the middle ear) to the space behind the nose. Its purpose is to provide a way for air to move in or out of the middle ear so that the air pressure in the ear is always equal to the air pressure around us, even with changes in external air pressure. How does the Eustachian tube work? When the Eustachian tube is working perfectly, it is closed and opens only very briefly when we swallow or yawn. There is a pulley-like muscle above the roof of our mouth that pulls it open when we swallow or yawn. Some people can actually hear a “crackling” sound every time this happens. Others hear it only sometimes, while some never hear it. Almost everyone becomes aware of this air movement when their ears finally “pop” during altitude changes such as during airplane flights or while ascending or descending a mountain or high elevator shaft. During th ...