Diplomate, Board Certification of Emergency Medicine
Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine Ma'ayenei Hayeshua
The ear is our subject of the week. The ear is responsible of
course for hearing, but it also has within it the apparatus
for helping you keep your balance.
The most common problem in ears may be infection of the ear
drum, but indeed, it may be not as common as we think, as
most physicians do not know how to correctly diagnose an ear
infection. It requires not only seeing the ear drum and
seeing that it is red, but also blowing air at it with a
special device and seeing how it moves. Often physicians will
tell you it is the cause for baby's fever when other causes
can't be found.
An outer ear infection often occurs after swimming, and is
extremely painful. There is usually a discharge in the ear.
Usually this can be treated with drops.
Loss of hearing is common in the elderly, but new electronic
hearing aids are very helpful. Avoiding loud noises will help
reduce one's risk for this problem. Ringing in the ears is a
common problem in the elderly, to the best of my knowledge
there is no beneficial treatment for this problem.
I have seen all sorts of foreign bodies in the ears,
including an array of insects, false fingernails, tops of
pens, heads, etc. If you make a lot of ear wax, you should
clean your ears just with water, or dilute hydrogen peroxide
which dissolves the wax. The main message: never stick
anything in the ear, and if your child does, let the doctor
remove it. This is one area that hurts a lot if the canal is
scratched during removal and pushing things deeper makes our
Vertigo is a loss of balance and a sensation that the world
is spinning around you. It can cause vomiting with the mere
movement of the head. It may be caused by a virus. Pills do
exist to help this problem, but it can persist.
Related to this is the problem of motion sickness. Patches
and pills do exist to help, but try not looking out the
window. Popping of ears is a problem on airplanes. Try
chewing gum, and let babies suck on bottles on takeoff and
Trauma to the ear should be treated promptly. If the outer
ear becomes infected or there is swelling from trauma, it
must be treated promptly to avoid a misshapen or
Ear drums that have small tears in them usually heal without
Pierced ears that are done incorrectly can be a disaster, so
this should be done by people with proper training.
For our trivia buffs, the smallest bones in the body are
those which vibrate within the ear. They are called ossicles,
and the base of the one in the eardrum is called an umbo.
Write me in care of the Yated.
We would like to welcome a new sponsor of this column. Glaxo
Welcome Beecham is the largest pharmaceutical firm in the
world and is the maker of many important medications.
Zinnat is one of their products and it is a strong
antibiotic. It should be considered in pneumonias, especially
in the elderly and infants and it is Israel's most economical
way of treating urinary tract infections. Zinnat also covers
the bacteria in skin infections, and the throat if you are
having trouble with a strep throat. It covers ear infections
as well. Be in touch with your doctor.