Ear pain can be a source of significant discomfort. Due to the many nerves that are clustered in the area, ear pain can sometimes persist for days and be beyond the aid of common over-the-counter painkillers. Some causes of ear pain may require the assistance of medical professionals; others can be solved by yourself. Here are three of the most common causes of ear pain.
Some of the most common causes of ear pain are dental issues. According to Alpine Dental, cavities, impacted molars, abscesses, infections and jaw problems can lead to earaches that seemingly don't go away. Persistent jaw pain may be a sign that you should pay a visit to the dentist. Even if you don't believe you have any cavities, the pain may be coming from a source that is not visible to you, such as a wisdom tooth that is pushing against its neighboring teeth at an abnormal angle. Only a dentist capable of taking an X-ray of your mouth can show you what is happening under the gums.
Earwax is a natural substance produced by your ear to keep out bacteria, dirt, and water. Earwax is normally created in the ear canal and gradually pushed into the outer ear by the hair inside your ear. However, sometimes too much earwax is produced. One of the most common ways people deal with earwax is to clean it with a cotton swab. Unfortunately, this method will only push your earwax deeper into the canal, and can even be dangerous, according to ENT Orlando. Cotton swabs should only be used lightly around your outer ear to brush off dead skin and loosen ear wax. You can use hydrogen peroxide, diluted vinegar or mineral oil to loosen the buildup of wax in the ear and let it drift out normally.
Normally, the air pressure inside your inner ear is roughly the same as the pressure in the outer ear. However, according to Virtua Health, rapid acceleration can quickly destabilize that equilibrium. For example, if you're on a roller coaster, you may feel increasing pressure inside your ear until your ear pops and the pressure recedes. However, there are some instances where you might need to take a more active approach to relieve air pressure. Frequent air travelers often experience ear pain while travelling by plane. The rapid acceleration at takeoff can create a painful buildup of air pressure inside your ear that your body cannot adjust to quickly. In this case, a common remedy is to force your ear to pop by swallowing or chewing gum in order to stimulate frequent swallowing to keep your ear tubes open and air available to your inner ear.
Other causes of ear pain may be a lot more serious than the ones described above. If your ear pain comes with signs of infection, such as a fever, rash or sore throat, and it doesn't go away within a few days of home treatment, you should seek medical attention.
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Most people believe that a young age means good or even great health. You might be surprised to discover that many conditions and diseases that are typically associated with older age often begin during childhood or the young adult years. You may even develop symptoms during your young- or middle-adult years. These three conditions could affect your health earlier than you might think.
Dementia, which includes the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, can affect people younger than the age of 65. When it does, it is considered to be early or younger onset. Dementia can be diagnosed in your 30s, 40s, or 50s. To catch it early, you can take a cognitive test at home once per month, and track your scores over time. An early diagnosis allows you to get good medical care. According to Columbia University Department of Neurology, “early treatment for younger-onset dementia could help you prolong your mental faculties and have a better quality of life for as long as possible.”
Hearing loss does not only affect the elderly. Younger adults can get it, too. Some of the causes of premature hearing loss include repeated ear infections, physical damage to the eardrum, and exposure to loud sounds. Listening to loud music with earbuds or headphones may contribute to younger people developing hearing loss. According to Gardens Cosmetic Center, “about 36 million people have hearing impairments in the U.S., and almost half of them are under the age of 65.”
Heart disease is the top cause of death among Americans. Most people associate heart disease with old age. However, between 4 and 10 percent of heart attacks in men happen before the age of 45. According to UnityPoint Health, “nearly one in every 100 men develops signs of heart disease by the age of 45. By age 55, the risk doubles and continues to increase until age 85, when about 7.4 out of every 100 men have heart disease.” Hardening of the arteries may start during childhood and continue progressing through the teenage and young adult years. It is important to be aware of the warning signs of early-onset heart disease and to visit your doctor if you have them. You family history cannot be changed, but you may be able to make lifestyle changes now in order to lower your risk.
When something seems off with your body, make an appointment with your doctor. You know your body better than anyone else, and your physician should be willing to run the necessary diagnostic tests and to help you keep track of your health status. Remember, the earlier you seek diagnosis and treatment for the symptoms of these conditions, the better quality of life you can have.
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