Facts – Function And Diseases Of The Ear
Facts – Function And Diseases Of The Ear: The ear is more than just a hearing organ. It is a complicated system of parts that allows humans to hear and walk.
What size are human ears?
Ears come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Men's ears are more prominent than women's, according to a study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (opens in a new tab).
The middle ear is 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) long, with an earlobe that is 0.74 inches (1.88 cm) long and 0.77 inches (1.96 cm) wide, according to the researchers.
They also discovered that as we age, our ears grow larger.
For example, German researchers reported in the Anthropological Scoreboard: Journal of Biological and Clinical Anthropology(opens in new tab) in 2007 that women's ears grow less than men's.
The maximum ear length in the study for a 20-year-old woman was 2.4 inches (6.1 cm), but it increased to 2.8 inches (7.2 cm) for women over 70.
This length was 2.6 inches (6.5 cm) in men under 20 and 3 inches (7.8 cm) in men over 70.
Another study from Texas Tech University confirmed this observation.
The study discovered that average ear circumference increases by 0.51 millimetres per year with age, most likely due to collagen changes.
An equation can be used to express the relationship between age and ear circumference:
Ear circumference in millimetres = 88.1 + (0.51 x age of the person). In contrast, a person's age can be calculated using the equation: age of the person = 1.96 x circumference of the ear (ear circumference in mm – 88.1).
How do the ears function?
The ear can be broken down into its external covering, middle, and inner ear. They all serve different but vital functions in terms of hearing and balance.
How does hearing work?
The auricle and pinna comprise the external auditory canal, cartilage, and skin loop outside the head.
It works similarly to a megaphone. According to Nebraska Medicine, sound waves are conducted through the outer ear and directed into the external ear canal.
The ear canal is the visible portion of the ear hole when looking at an ear up close.
The eardrum (or tympanic membrane) is the final stop for sound waves after entering the ear.
When sound waves strike the thin layer of connective tissue, it vibrates like a drum struck by a drumstick.
After penetrating the eardrum, the vibrations reach the middle ear, the tympanic cavity.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the tympanic cavity is lined with mucous membranes and is air-filled. The ossicles consist of three tiny bones: the malleus (hammer), incus (anvil), and stapes (stirrup).
According to the National Library of Medicine, when the bones vibrate, the stapes push an oval window structure in and out (NLM).
This action is transmitted to the inner ear and cochlea, a fluid-filled spiral structure containing the spiral organ of Corti, which serves as the hearing receptor organ.
This organ's tiny hair cells convert vibrations into electrical impulses transmitted to the brain via sensory nerves.
How the ears to aid in balance
The Eustachian tube, also known as the pharyngeal tube, balances the air pressure in the middle ear with the atmospheric pressure. This procedure assists people in maintaining their equilibrium.
Because it contains receptors that regulate the sense of balance, the vestibular complex in the inner ear is also essential for balance.
The vestibulocochlear nerve connects the inner ear to the brain and transmits sound and balance information.
Ear diseases and disorders
The ear is a delicate organ that can be harmed by injury, bacteria, or environmental changes.
According to the NLM, ear infections are the most common condition in infants and young children.
Ear infections are common, and new research from the American Academy of Family Physicians lists several symptoms that may indicate an infection: ear discharge, hearing loss, ear pain, fever, headache, earache and a stuffy sensation in the ear.
Meniere's disease is a condition affecting the inner ear and is brought on by issues with the ear's fluid. Hearing loss, pressure or pain, dizziness, and tinnitus are all symptoms.
Having ringing in the ears is a symptom of tinnitus.
Loud noises, medications, and other factors can also contribute to it.
According to the National Library of Medicine, barotrauma is an ear injury caused by air or water pressure changes.
It usually happens during aeroplane flights, high-altitude travel, or diving into deep waters. Pain, blocked ears, hearing loss, and dizziness are all symptoms.
Barotrauma is typically relieved by “popping” the ears by yawning, chewing gum, or attempting to blow outside with the nose closed and the mouth closed.
Earwax, also known as cerumen, is antibacterial and lubricates and protects the ear.
Average amounts should not bother most people, but earwax can accumulate and should be removed occasionally, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology.
Earwax symptoms include ear congestion, coughing, odour, discharge, itching, and hearing loss.
Hearing loss isn't just a problem for the elderly. Two to three infants out of every thousand in the United States are born with profound hearing loss in both ears.
About 15% of U.S. adults have some form of hearing loss, per the NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders).
Still, the NIDCD says that age is the best way to predict hearing loss in people ages 20 to 69. Hearing typically declines with age, though ear damage can cause hearing loss at a very young age.
In the late teens, we are finding an increasing number of individuals with severe hearing loss, says Dr Sreekant Cherukuri, a board-certified otolaryngologist in Chicago and the founder of MDHearingAid. “In this country, noise-induced hearing loss is becoming more prevalent.
We spend hours a day connected to phones and music players. When we hear loud noises that are bad for us, the sensitive cells in our inner ears get hurt.
Regrettably, this harm accumulates over time.
Increasing ear health
Hearing that has been damaged cannot be repaired naturally.
Most patients who have hearing loss require surgery or hearing aids. “The good news is that this is completely avoidable,” Cherukuri says.
“When using earplugs or headphones, I recommend that my patients follow the 60-60 rule: no more than 60% of full volume for more than 60 minutes at a time.”
People who enjoy loud activities or hobbies, like sports games, music concerts, shooting sports, motorcycling, or mowing the lawn, should protect their ears by wearing earplugs or headphones that block noise.
Another method for preventing hearing loss and damage is a thorough cleaning. The American Academy of Otolaryngology suggests using a cloth to clean the outer ear.
Then, put a few drops of baby oil, mineral oil, glycerin, or commercial drops in the ear to soften the wax and make it easier to drain.
Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide applied topically in tiny amounts, may also speed recovery. Never stick anything in your ear canal.