Common Ear Problems and their Treatments


Ear, is the organ which gives us the ability to hear and maintain the balance. Therefore, any anatomical or mechanical problem involving the ears can give rise to symptoms like ear pain, itching in the ear, ear block, complete or partial loss of hearing and ringing sensation in the ear (tinnitus).

You can read about anatomy and physicology of ear

Various conditions may disrupt this mechanism of hearing or maintenance of balance, and through this article, we are going to discuss few of them.

Common Ear problems are middle ear infection, glue ear, Ear wax , swimmers ear, barotrauma and Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)

Middle Ear infections, Glue ear, perforation of ear drum

This is the commonest reason for impaired hearing in children (also called as Otitis media). Symptoms could be pain in the ear, ear tugging and inconsolable crying in small children, ear discharge, sleep disturbances, imbalance, or hearing problems. Untreated and persistent ear infections can give rise to glue in the middle ear or perforations which can result in permanent hearing problems.

ENT surgeons will use instrument known as Otoscope or oto-endoscope, to examine magnified view of the ear to make the diagnosis, and appropriate pain relievers and antibiotics would be prescribed. In addition to that, keeping a warm and moist piece of cloth over the affected ear will also help to reduce the pain.

Recurrent glue ear and perforations might need surgery.

A ringing, roaring, hissing, or buzzing sound in one or both ears which may either be soft or loud and high pitched or low pitched. People with severe tinnitus may develop disturbances in sleep and work which can interfere with day to day activities.

Root causes for tinnitus to develop include, advanced age, chronic exposure to loud noises, ear infections, sinusitis and hormonal imbalances in women.

Treatment for this condition is based on the underlying cause.

Hearing aids, sound masking devices and avoidance of loud noises will help.

Meniere’s disease
A disorder of the inner ear, resulting in severe dizziness, intermittent hearing loss, tinnitus mostly with a roaring sound, ear ache and sensation of pressure in the ear. Although the exact mechanism of Meniere’s disease is unclear, scientists believe that it is caused due to the changes in the fluid levels inside the ear.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition, but certain life style modifications such as limiting the salt content in diet and usage of water loosing pills will help to control symptoms of dizziness and tinnitus.

A condition which occurs due to the sudden change of barometric (air) or water pressure. This usually happens, when we air fly, scuba dive or go on mountain hikes due to the sudden alteration of the altitude.

Most individuals affected by, will complain of ear ache, sensation of stuffed or blocked ears, loss of hearing and dizziness.

The main objective of the treatment includes relieving the pressure inside ear and it can be done by heavy yawning and chewing bubble gum. Some doctor may prescribe decongestants for symptom relief.

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