Swimmer's ear, also called external otitis, or otitis externa, is an infection of the ear canal. The most common cause of this infection is bacteria that affect the skin inside your ear canal. Swimmer's ear typically involves discomfort. Drainage from the ear may also be present.
Also known as a middle ear infection, otitis media is a bacterial or viral infection that affects the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear. Otitis media may be associated with hearing loss, ear pain, and fever. Sometimes otitis media has no symptoms at all.
Mastoiditis is a bacterial infection of the mastoid bone, which typically occurs after acute otitis media. Symptoms include redness, tenderness, and swelling that pushes the ear forward.
Meniere’s disease describes a combination of symptoms: vertigo (spinning sensation), hearing loss, tinnitus (a roaring, buzzing, or ringing sound in the ear), and a sensation of fullness in the affected ear.
(koh-LEST-ee-a-TOE-ma) An abnormal skin growth behind the eardrum, cholesteatoma often develops as cysts or pouches that shed layers of old skin, which build up inside the middle ear. Over time, the cholesteatoma can increase in size and cause damage to the surrounding delicate bones of the middle ear, leading to hearing loss. Surgical intervention is required to remove the abnormal skin growth and restore hearing.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
Eustachian tube dysfunction occurs when the Eustachian tube is blocked or does not open properly to ventialte the air-filled middle ear space. Symptoms can include: muffled or dulled hearing, a feeling of fullness in the ear, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ear) and dizziness.
A hole or tear in the eardrum, also know as tympanic membrane perforation, can be the result of trauma, injury, otitis media or otitis externa. There may or may not be drainage from the ear. Many ear drum ruptures heal quickly without intervention. Sometimes, medical intervention is required to promote healing. An examination by an ENT will ensure appropriate care and proper healing.
Microtia is a birth defect which results in a deformity of the external ear, or pinna. Atresia is absence or underdevelopment of the ear canal and middle ear structures. Microtia and atresia often occur together, because the outer ear and the middle ear develop together in the womb. Microtia/atresia often result in either conductive or mixed hearing loss. Children with microtia/atrsia should be followed by ENT and audiology to ensure that any hearing loss is being managed appropriately.