With advancing age, ear infections are inevitable – Prof Ademokoya ON June 7, 2016 8:05 AM / IN Health, News

With advancing age, ear infections are inevitable – Prof Ademokoya ON June 7, 2016 8:05 AM / IN Health, News

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Posted by pstar (M) » 07 Jun,2016

By Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna & Gabriel
Olawale
A Professor of Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation,
Professor Julius Abiola Ademokoya, has called for
more public education and enlightenment about
the need to go for regular checks in order to
detect common ear infections. Ademokoya, who
is the President, Speech Pathology and Audiology
Association of Nigeria, SPAAN, said a number of
factors that contribute towards the relatively high
cases of hearing problems in the country are
preventable.
Excerpts:
WHEN talking about ear infections, we need to
first understand that the ear is divided into three
parts, the outside, middle and inner ear. Infections
can happen in any of the three parts. Fungal
infection can cause external ear infection and if
not properly treated can move to the middle ear
and also migrate to the inner ear to cause
damage.
Middle ear
The middle ear which
is made up of the hole
we normally see,
contains the tympanic
membrane, there can
be some infections
there as well (utertis
media disease). Parts
of the middle and inner
ears are vulnerable to
infection.
If you look at the
middle ear, there is
always fluid on the
lining of the canal of
the hole, some people
usually have excess of
cerunen, the
accummulated fluid in
the middle ear can
become so much and thick which can create two
problems. It can narrow down the passage of
sound from outside to the inner ear, that can
affect hearing to some extent.
Conditions
Secondly, it can put pressure on the tympanic
membrane. You know the middle ear also leads
to the throat. Now you can have some infections
from the upper chest area that will travel from the
Eustachian Tube, that leads the middle ear to the
throat. Infection can come from the chest or
mouth and move through the Eustachian Tube.
Common infections like cold, viral infections, etc.,
can move through that Eustachian Tube to the
ear, and cause infection of the middle ear.
Some of all these challenges are not “infections”,
rather they are “conditions”. For instance, the
Eustachian Tube is very delicate and tiny. Some
people put sharp or pointed objects into their ears
and this can tear tympanic membrane, so that
can cause a problem.
Inner ear
In the inner ear, there are normally a lot of
infections, especially viral infections such as
meningitis. All the family of viral infections can
affect the sensitive part of hearing that is called
the Cochlea. Some of these infections affect the
Central Nervous System, organs of hearing and
lining of the brain, especially the part that is
responsible for hearing and interpretation of
sound.
Meniere’s disease
Meniere’s disease, which is called noise in the
ear, is sound coming into the ear. Most people in
old age experience that, it is the condition that is
common with age, It is more of a functional
disease than infection. What I mean by functional
is that it is something that has to do with aging
and it is not really infection per se.
With advancing age, a lot of conditions begin to
come up in the body system that are not really
tied to infection but are due to the ageing
process. Occasionally, there is ringing (noise) in
the ear, you feel it and it could be disturbing
especially if it’s becoming persistent.
Vertigo
We also have Vertigo problem which is peculiar to
the inner ear. A symptom includes feeling dizzy,
like the world is turning. The balance you enjoy
when you stand up correctly and do things
correctly, is courtesy of the inner ear function.
If there is problem with the way you are standing,
you can’t walk correctly, jump properly, you can’t
balance yourself very well, it could be due to
malfunction or vertigo. At times, accident to the
ear is a serious factor. Accident resulting from
heavy blow to the ear among other issues can
cause inner ear problem.
Number one, hereditary is a factor, because most
of the hearing problem has to do with hereditary,
especially gradual loss of hearing, another thing
is genetic characteristic of your body make up
could cause it.
Causes of hearing impairment
Lifestyle, what we expose our ear to as regard
the noise. These could be environmental noise.
There are times we carelessly expose ourselves to
noise. At parties, people sometimes sit very close
to the loudspeaker. Some wear earpieces all the
time to enjoy music and there are instances in
which exposure to drugs can cause hearing
impairment.
Way forward
The education is not there, I think for the first
time we are having a high profile hearing case in
Nigeria. At the Speech Pathology and Audiology
Association of Nigeria, we always emphasise that
there is need for every Nigerian to go for hearing
check up, especially if they are feeling strange in
their hearing pattern.
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