Ears

Let’s talk about the ears and some common ear problems we see in our clinic.

Toxicity is the most common ear problem. Any toxic load in the body can cause hearing loss, dizziness, balance problems, and ringing in the ears. Over 100 classes of drugs have been connected to otoxicity, or damage to the ears, the most common being streptomyocin, salicylates, quinine, loop diretics, aminoglycosides, neoplastic agents based on platinum, dyes, and several antibiotics. Our inner ears can act as a place of storage for toxic elements that our body can’t seem to get rid of. Not just drugs, but other things as well.

Clogged ears or fluid behind the ear drum can also be a problem of eliminating or draining the ear properly. Our approach is to help lower the toxic load of the body in general so it is able to eliminate anything it tends to store. By doing this, we often see good results in tinnitus, balance problems, and dizziness. Homeopathy has proven to be a very useful tool with these patients as well. It is also important to use protective measures for the ears while taking drugs that may be risky to the ears.

Ear infections in both kids and adults can be treated naturally. Several medical institutes have agreed that antibiotics are often overprescribed and not relevant to most types of infections. Herbal tinctures, water therapy techniques, tweaking the diet, and using ear drops can be very effective. Many patients, after years of antibiotics, are quite surprised at how effective these measures can be. Some patients, such as diabetics, are more at risk for serious infections. If an ear infection does not clear up within a couple weeks or progressively worsens, more serious infections that can spread to the brain should be considered. For this reason, it is also important to have the ear examined before using ear drops to make sure the ear drum is in one piece. Infection is much easier prevented than it is treated, so consider these preventions:

Breastfeed babies Avoid milk and milk products
Avoid bottle propping Avoid exposure to any smoke
Avoid pacifiers after age 1 Consume regular probiotics
Maintain sleeping position on back Address other health conditions

About 50% of ear pain is related to sinus infections, teeth or a muscular problem in the jaw, and a foreign body in the ear is a common cause. The things children can actually stick in their ear (or nose) can be amazing! It is not uncommon to find sand or bits of cotton, but it is buttons, batteries, and bugs that are more concerning. Even q-tips can push wax deeper into their ear. Kids in my practice are told not to stick anything in their ear that is smaller than their elbow. To get water out of their ears, they can tip their head and gently shake onto a towel. Itching can also be caused by a fungal infection in the ear. Infections in general can cause pain. More rarely, pain in the ear or otalgia can be related to a growth, a deeper infection, or a nerve issue.

Hearing loss can be genetic, caused by development problems such as in preemie babies, caused by infections such as particular bugs and frequent infections, toxicity from drugs, and, of course, age. An infant should react to your voice. By 3 – 5 months, your baby should turn his head toward the source of the sound. By 10 – 12 months, he should react differently to different sounds, such as dancing to music or crying from an alarm or other loud noise. By age 1, he will be imitating your sounds and saying a few words. These stepping stones all reflect healthy hearing. As your child ages, you will be teaching him how to take care of his ears by choosing what to listen to for his brain’s sake and what is too loud, especially over headphones. Once hearing damage does occur, it cannot ‘heal’ and auditory devices are needed.

Our ears are a complicated part of our bodies; they transmit vibration to nerves for sound, create balance, and allow for equilibrium of air. Helen Keller felt her inability to hear was a greater burden than blindness, saying, “Blindness separates us from things, but deafness separates us from people.” Take good care of your precious ears.