Ear Infections & Earache

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The medical term for an ear infection is otitis media.  The word otitis stands for ear which means inflammation and the term media means middle as the infection usually occurs in the middle ear canal.

Although children are more likely to suffer from ear infections, and this is often due to the narrow passage that connects the middle ear to the nose which can get blocked easily, adults may suffer from ear infection too for a variety of reasons.

The symptoms of ear infection in adults may be ear pain, discharge and congestion in the ears which can lead to hearing problems such as muffled hearing. Read More…

What Is Tinnitus?

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Tinnitus is a Latin word meaning “ringing” and is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound. The symptoms of tinnitus are buzzing, ringing, whistling in the ear, clicking in the ear, chirping or other descriptors. Tinnitus may be hard to detect because the symptoms can come and go and can affect one or both ears. The most common noise heard is a shrill, high pitched unpleasant tone. Surprisingly, most of us at some point in time will experience this unpleasant tone but for the majority, it is only temporary. Read More…

Link Between Loud Music And Tinnitus?

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Q: My teenage son listens to loud music a lot and suffers from tinnitus. Is there a connection and can anything be done about it?

A: Tinnitus is a distressing and very common hearing disorder, which affects ten per cent of the UK population. The sufferer hears phantom sounds in one or both ears that do not correspond to any external cause. Ringing, whistling, humming and buzzing are typical, according to the British Tinnitus Association (tinnitus.org.uk, tel: 0800 018 0527). Noise may be low or high frequency, loud or soft, and sporadic or a continuous wall of sound.

Tinnitus is seldom a symptom of a serious health disorder but it is wise to consult your GP, who may refer your son to an ear, nose and throat or audiology department.

The causes are not fully understood but exposure to loud noise is clearly a factor. Frequent and/or prolonged loud noise can damage the hearing system and increase the risk of tinnitus or make an existing condition worse.

Young people are increasingly affected. Vivienne Michaels, chief executive of Deafness Research UK (deafnessresearch.org.uk), says, ‘Playing music at high volume through MP 3 players [means] we risk tinnitus and deafness far earlier than would be expected as a result of old age.’ Read More…

DVT: Know The Facts

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Q: My husband, 49, was referred to hospital recently by his GP, for an ultrasound scan because of a painful swollen leg. He was diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Can you explain what this is?

A: DVT s are blood clots. It is the leading cause of pain and swelling in a leg and potentially fatal, according to consultant vascular surgeon, Mr John Scurr (jscurr.com). ‘Clots happen because of an imbalance in the make-up of the blood. If the ratio of clotting and liquefying components is upset, you develop bleeding (eg nose bleeds or bruises) or clotting, usually in the calf. The pain is due to irritation in the vein walls. The leg swells as the clot blocks the bigger veins.’ Read More…