Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Adar II 5760 - March 15, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Diplomate, Board Certification of Emergency Medicine

Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine Ma'ayenei Hayeshua Hospital

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 job harder.

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 landing.

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 "cauliflower" ear.

Ear drums that have small tears in them usually heal without a problem.

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.


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