Common Ear Problems

The ear has three primary parts and these are the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Because of several reasons, any of these parts can be infected or damaged. Below are some of the common ear problems that people incur:

Infection of the outer ear

  1. Excessive wax and presence of foreign objects – Ear wax is a normal defense mechanism of the ear, but excessive earwax could also mean a bad thing. If it is not removed, then you will experience discomfort, itching, and pain. What the doctor usually does is remove the excess ear wax with the help of a special instrument. Other doctors prefer to have it flushed using a syringe. In case of trapped foreign objects, the doctor will manually remove the object using special equipment.
  2. Ear AnatomyOtitis externa/Swimmer’s ear- The infection is characterized by painful and itchy sensation with watery discharges. This condition should be dealt with the soonest possible time or else fungi will start to thrive in the ear canal, which can further worsen the condition. The doctor will clean the canal and will use a specific antibiotic as well as acetic acid to prevent the infection from coming back.
  3. Ear hematoma- This condition is secondary to trauma to the ears and if left untreated could lead to cauliflower-shaped deformity.
  4. Perichondritis- The tissues surrounding the earlobe and cartilage get infected secondary to trauma to the ears and insect bites. If you are suffering from perichondritis, then you should immediately consult your doctor for proper treatment and management.
  5. Tumor (cancerous and non-cancerous) – Non-cancerous tumors in the outer ear should be surgically removed. On the other hand, cancerous tumors of the outer ear should be treated either by radiation or surgery. It all depends on the discretion of the doctor.

 

Infection of the middle ear

  1. Perforation of the eardrum- This usually happens if there is infection in the middle ear.Middle Ear The cardinal signs of perforated eardrum are ringing in the ear, pain, bleeding in the ear, and hearing loss. To confirm the presence of a hole in the eardrum, the doctor will assess the middle structure of the ear using an otoscope. The eardrum has the ability to heal on its own, but there are times when surgery is needed. To prevent infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotic and will recommend keeping the ear dry.
  2. Barotrauma- With this disorder, the air pressure on the sides of the eardrum is unequal. This condition can be corrected by several maneuvers and these maneuvers should only be done by experts.
  3. Infectious myringitis- The infection in the eardrum is caused by bacteria or virus. A small blister will appear on the eardrum, which makes the eardrum inflamed. This condition can be very painful and there is a possibility that you will lose your ability to hear. Hence, you should see your doctor right away so that you will receive all the necessary treatment and care.
  4. Acute otitis media- It occurs as a complication of allergies and colds, which can be caused by virus or bacteria. This ear infection condition commonly affects the children, but it can also affect adults. It is characterized by red, painful, and bulging eardrum. Acute otitis media is usually treated with antibiotics as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. For severe otitis media, the doctor will perform myringotomy.
  5. Secretory otitis media- The middle ear is accumulated with water. This disorder is diagnosed using tympanometry. This condition is treated with decongestants like ephedrine and phenylephrine.
  6. Chronic otitis media- This is an infection in the middle ear that has been going on and on. It is caused by perforation in the eardrum or cholesteatoma. A foul smelling discharge is present and the discharge looks more like pus. The doctor cleanses the ear and will prescribe eardrops to combat the infection. For severe cases, the doctor will perform tympanoplasty, which is a repair of the eardrum.
  7. Mastoiditis- The mastoid process, a bony structure behind the ear is infected by a particular type of bacteria. Mastoiditis is a complication of poorly treated acute otitis media. This disorder is usually treated with antibiotic given via intravenous route.

Infection of the inner ear

  1. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo- It is characterized by episodes of vertigo that usually happens if you change the position of your head. You will also feel dizzy, nauseated, and in some cases would lead to vomiting. Anti-vertigo Inner Ear medications are usually given to patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
  2. Meniere’s disease- It is an inner ear disorder that affects both balance and hearing. The common symptoms are tinnitus, vertigo, migraine, and hearing loss. To address this problem, various medical approaches should be used including prescription medication, lifestyle and diet modification, and surgery when deemed necessary.
  3. Labyrinthine fistula- The bony capsule in the inner ear has an abnormal opening, which leads to leakage of perilymph to the middle ear. Most labyrinthine fistula cases are congenital, but it can be developed with the passage of time. There are also activities that can trigger labyrinthine fistula such as head trauma, pressure to the ears secondary to scuba diving, and exposure to a very loud noise.
  4. Labyrinthitis- This inner ear disorder is usually caused by a virus, but it can also be caused by bacteria. Signs and symptoms include anxiety, vertigo, tinnitus, balance disorder, and hearing loss.
  5. Otosclerosis- This condition can lead to sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. Otosclerosis is an inner ear disorder that is inherited. This can be corrected through the help of surgery and wearing hearing aid.
  6. Schwartz sign- It is a disease that affects both middle and inner ear. Schwartz sign is an indicator that a person is suffering from otosclerosis.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is characterized by ringing in the ears, but the sounds being heard vary from one person to another. Some patients hear buzzing, roaring, hissing, as well as whistling sound.  Ringin In Ears CharacterTinnitus affects more than 50 million people all across the globe. A lot of people think that tinnitus is a disease, but truth is that it is an indicator of an underlying disease condition. The exact cause of tinnitus is still unknown up to this time, but the good news is that there are many different ways to manage this condition. Yes there are cures and treatments for tinnitus that can be effective.

Tinnitus affects people of all ages, but the condition is more prevalent in the elderly, especially people 50 years old and above. The prevalence is also high in people who are exposed in extremely loud environment for a long period of time. If you or somebody you know is suffering from tinnitus, you should immediately seek help because the condition gets worse over time.

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