Hearing Problems Often Encountered
Infection in the middle ear (otitis media)
Otitis media is a bacterial infection in the middle ear. Otitis media can affect anyone. However, it is more common in young children.
Due to the infection, fluid might build up in the middle of the ear, causing the eardrum to bulge outward and producing ear pain.
Because the ossicles (the tiny bones in the ear) can no longer move freely and transport sound waves to the inner ear, the fluid can also cause minor hearing loss.
In difficult situations, the eardrum may burst, allowing pus and blood to enter the external ear canal.
When a bacterial or viral infection spreads to the ear, it is called otitis media. When something gets into the ear from the nose or throat, it causes a middle ear infection.
Most middle ear infections resolve within a few days to a week. However, consult your primary care physician anyway because, while rare, otitis media complications can be catastrophic.
If there is no relief after several days or if you are in excruciating pain, consult a doctor. An antibiotic may be administered. In this scenario, you must complete the entire course of treatment.
Sticky ears, also known as otitis media with effusion (OME), are more common in children but can affect adults. It is frequently caused by a middle ear infection (otitis media).
Glue ear symptoms
Temporary hearing loss is the most common symptom. It might impair either one or both ears.
Other signs and symptoms include:
Earache or pain in the ear
Tinnitus (hearing sounds like ringing or buzzing).
If your child has hearing loss, they may:
speak more loudly or softly than usual.
Request that others repeat what they have spoken.
Request that the TV or music be turned up higher.
Appear exhausted and irritated, since listening is more complicated.
Sticky ears occur when fluid builds up in the middle of the ear and does not generally drain through the Eustachian tube. The Eustachian tube is a short passageway that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat.
The glue ear usually goes away on its own after three months. If the condition does not improve, an otolaryngologist may suggest surgery to temporarily place a tiny ventilation tube known as a grommet into the eardrum.
This allows fluid to flow via the Eustachian tube and air to enter the middle ear.
Hearing aids may be recommended if surgery is not an option due to other health issues or another reason not to implant grommets, such as if grommets have not worked in the past and a sticky ear persists.
Ossicles that are damaged
Severe infections and head injuries can harm the ossicles (tiny bones) in the inner ear, causing hearing loss. Sometimes newborns are born with deformed ossicles.
Ossicles that have been damaged can be repaired or replaced with artificial bone. The extent to which your hearing improves after surgery is determined by the severity of the ossicles and middle ear damage and the type of artificial bone required to correct the damage.
If you have hearing loss in one or both of your ears, you may have otosclerosis. Adults in their late twenties or thirties are the most typically affected.
Abnormal bone progressively forms around and on the stapes, one of the middle ear’s tiny bones (ossicles). This restricts the stapes’ movement.
As a result, the ossicles can no longer move as freely or hearing loss occurs when sound waves are not adequately transmitted to the inner ear. The stapes eventually get so fixed that they can not move, resulting in profound hearing loss.
Otosclerosis usually affects only the stapes. In rare circumstances, the cochlea’s concha and the hair cells within it are also impacted.
Hearing aids can help with otosclerosis, but they cannot stop the worsening of hearing loss. The doctor may discuss the option of a stapedectomy, in which a surgeon replaces the stapes with an artificial bone composed of metal or plastic, allowing sound to enter the inner ear once more. This operation has been quite successful.
An eardrum that has been perforated or ruptured is known as an eardrum that has been punctured. It usually cures in a few weeks and does not require treatment.
However, if you suspect your eardrum has ruptured, consult your primary care physician right away because, as a result, this can lead to ear infections and other issues.
The following are symptoms of an eardrum rupture:
unexpected hearing loss.
An earache in the ear
An itch in the ear
Ringing or buzzing sounds in your ears are known as tinnitus.
Fluid leakage from the ear
A hot temperature
If your eardrum is burst, it is critical not to get water or other fluids in your ear, as this might lead to a middle ear infection.
A perforated eardrum can result from:
Ear infections can be severe, such as an untreated middle ear infection.
An eardrum injury can result from a forceful blow to the ear or things being pushed into the ear.
Sudden loud noises, such as an explosion, coupled with a pressure change
Changes in air pressure occur quickly, such as while changing altitude in an airplane or diving.
Within two months, a perforated eardrum will typically mend on its own.
More severe damage, usually caused by repeated bouts of middle ear infection, may necessitate surgery to heal the hole with a tissue transplant, known as a myringoplasty.
Visit the NHS website to learn when you should visit a doctor and what you can do to limit the risk of infection while your eardrum heals.
A cholesteatoma is an abnormal, noncancerous growth that can form beneath the eardrum in the center of the ear. It can happen when a portion of the eardrum collapses.
The eardrum secretes dead skin cells that would otherwise be expelled from the ear. When the eardrum collapses, a pocket forms in which dead skin cells accumulate and combine with earwax and other debris to produce a cyst-like growth.
If left untreated, a cholesteatoma can spread and destroy surrounding ear structures such as the eardrum and the tiny bones known as ossicles.
A cholesteatoma can form when the eardrum is injured or infected or after ear surgery.
A cholesteatoma usually only affects one ear. The following are the most prevalent symptoms:
an odorous and watery discharge from the ear
Hearing loss in the afflicted ear occurs gradually.
Some patients also experience slight ear pain.
It can also cause the following side effects:
Tinnitus is the perception of noises such as buzzing or humming.
If the balancing mechanism in the inner ear is impaired, dizziness (vertigo) occurs.
Cholesteatoma can occasionally injure the facial nerve bone, causing facial muscles to weaken.
In difficult situations, the cholesteatoma may pierce the skull and cause meningitis or brain infection. Damage symptoms include dizziness, facial muscle weakness, and severe headaches.
Cholesteatoma necessitates surgery to remove the abnormal skin growth and any indications of infection to prevent harm to the middle and inner ear. After that, the surgeon will try to repair the injured middle ear, transplant the eardrum, and, if feasible, restore your hearing.
Surfer’s ear (exostosis)
Exostosis is a disorder in which the ear’s bone grows abnormally when regularly exposed to cold water. It primarily affects people who swim or surf in cold water, also known as a surfer’s ear.
Typically, two bony swellings (exostoses) form slowly on the lower wall of the deep ear canal, with a third, smaller hump in the top section.
Exostosis worsens with extended exposure to cold wind and water. If the swellings are too large, earwax and water can become trapped in the ear, causing infection and hearing loss.
Avoiding contact with cold water by not swimming or using earplugs while swimming will help keep swelling at bay.
The unusual bone growth may be removed surgically. It may take many weeks to heal, depending on the state of your ear canal and the type of operation.