Ear and Hearing

Infections, Disorders and Treatments for Ear and Hearing

ENT Provider Inspecting Patient Ear

Ear Infections

Swimmer’s Ear or an External Ear Infection: Often can be treated with antibiotic ear drops. Severe infections, however require evaluation by an ear nose and throat specialist who may perform debridement and institute other specialized treatment regimens.

Middle Ear Infections (or Otitis Media): Very common in childhood and in some adults and is often treated with oral antibiotics. Severe or recurrent middle ear infections require ENT evaluation and treatment. This may at times involve placement of a small tube to help ventilate the middle ear space (ear tube or tympanostomy tube).

Ear Drum Disorders

Ear Drum or the Tympanic Membrane: can be damaged by infections or other diseases of the middle ear. This damage could consist of a hole (tympanic membrane perforation), or poor movement due to fluid or vacuum behind the ear drum. This can result in significant ear loss.

Treatments for Ear Drum Disorders: can consist of placing an ear tube or other surgeries to repair the ear drum. Alternatively, better ventilation of the middle ear can be established by improving function of the Eustachian tube which connects the ear to the back of the nose. Eustachian tube dysfunction therapy consists of use of nasal anti-inflammatory medications and occasionally anti-acid reflux medications. Damage from acid reflux and allergies can cause dysfunction of the Eustachian tube and the middle ear.

Hearing Loss & Tinnitus

Hearing Loss: Can happen to everyone with age and when it causes problems in terms of social functioning, an evaluation by an audiologist and an ENT specialist is advised prior to considering hearing aids. Certain patterns of hearing loss (such as sudden hearing loss or asymmetric hearing loss) require immediate attention by an ENT specialist. In some cases there are reversible causes for these problems. Special testing such as an MRI may be required as well. Tinnitus or ringing in the ear is often a by-product of hearing loss. Certain types of tinnitus, however, may be due to other causes. A thorough evaluation by an ENT professional can rule out concerning causes and help with management.

Hearing Aids: Audiology services can help with evaluation and dispensing and repair of hearing aids and custom ear plugs.