What are Some Common Diseases of the Ear?

a detailed diagram of the inner ear

When you think about your ear health, there is more to it than just hearing loss. You use your ears every single day. So, it’s not a surprise that your ear health can waiver from time to time. There are some ear-related medical conditions that can affect your hearing significantly. 

This makes it of the utmost importance for us to look after our ear and do what we can to maintain, enhance, and protect our ear health, especially our hearing. 

Let’s have a look at some on the common diseases of the ear below: 

Otosclerosis 

This is a condition where there is abnormal bone growth around a small bone inside the ear, known as the stapes. This can lead to the stapes bone is unable to move easily. If the stapes cannot move freely, it can result in the earing system is unable to function properly. This condition usually results in conductive hearing loss. There are two options for the treatment of otosclerosis; hearing aids and/or surgery. Hearing aids are a common treatment that are successful for the majority of people with otosclerosis. The surgery that is an option is called a stapedectomy and is performed by an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT).

Meniere’s disease 

This is a condition where there is an excess of fluid built up in the inner ear. The fluid that has built up in the inner ear, disturbs the balance of the ear and can lead to symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, ringing in the ears, a feeling of pressure in the ear and fluctuating hearing loss. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Meniere’s, however, it can be managed successfully. Although it doesn’t remove the symptoms, through the use of a good diet, exercise programs, medication, natural therapies, and, as a last resort surgery this can be treated. 

Ear Infections 

This is one of the most commonly known ear diseases that the majority of people have heard of. It’s most often inflammation and infection of the middle ear also referred to as otitis media. 

The most common time for someone to contract an ear infection is when a virus or bacteria enters the ear when they have had a cold, flu, breathing problem or allergy. Once it is inside the ear, the infection spreads to the middle ear and can lead to in-ear redness, itchiness, a blocked feeling, discharge from the ear, some ear pain, dizziness, fever and hearing loss. In the majority of cases, an ear infection is treated with the use of antibiotics or self-care at home. When you have an ear infection your hearing can be affected during and after. 

Swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) 

This another common type of ear infection. It again results in an inflammation of the ear canal between the eardrum and the outer ear. One of the biggest causes of this is water in the ear canal from swimming, showering, and bathing. However, it can also be caused by overzealous cleaning, dermatitis, or a chemical irritation inside the ear canal. Again, this is something is often treated with at-home care and antibiotics. 

Blocked ears 

Blocked ears are usually down to a build-up of excess wax in the ear canal, that isn’t naturally shifting. The wax comes from small glands inside the ear, it plays an important role in waterproofing and protecting the skin inside the ear canal. Our ears are usually self-cleaning, so they push the wax out naturally when we speak, chew or yawn.

 There is a lot of factors that contribute towards the amount of wax that you produce including, age, skin condition, anxiety levels, the anatomy of the ear canal, and diet. As we get older, our gland secretion becomes less oily, and this can result in harder and drier wax that can easily get stuck in the ear canal, it also struggles to naturally come away from the ears when you are wearing hearing aids. Having earwax in the wrong place can cause your hearing to be affected and causes your hearing aids to function wrong or not at all. If you are someone who regularly produces a lot of earwax, then it’s a good idea to have your ears cleaned by a professional. 

Pressure differences 

These happen when the tube that runs from your nose to your ear becomes blocked. It can cause an imbalance of air in the outer area of the eardrum, in comparison to the middle ear. It can be experienced when there is a change in altitude when you do things like fly, driving in the mountains, climbing or scuba diving. Sometimes you may experience dizziness and discomfort in one or both ears, some hearing loss, and a feeling of stuffiness or pressure in the ears. 

If you want to learn more about the different diseases of the ear don’t hesitate to contact Vero ENT Associates at 772-563-0015