Ear problems can range from ear-related issues, from a simple ear noise down to chronic infections, or worse, hearing loss. It pays to know what causes these disorders, what symptoms occur from these complications, and what diagnoses can be determined to treat them. Today, we will have a comprehensive enumeration of these common factors so that you could take care of your organ of hearing.
Ear problems may occur through different causes that can severely damage this organ in the long run. Here are some of the most common causes of ear problems:
These are responses of our immune system to any foreign substance but commonly are not harmful to our body. These substances are called ‘allergens’ and can include flower pollens, pet dander, and some kinds and types of food. Allergens can affect or trigger specific reactions inside the ear.
The common cold is usually caused by viruses affecting your nose and throat but may expand and affect other parts of the body like the ears since it is also located in the head region. Although harmless most of the time, colds can still affect your organ of hearing and its functions in some cases.
Also known by its medical term ‘rhinosinusitis,’ sinus infections occur and infect your nasal cavities, causing swelling and inflammation that can travel towards the ear region. These infections are normally caused by viruses and persist longer even after other symptoms are gone.
Excess mucus can exit from the back of your nose and can flow into your ears from the pharynx. This extra fluid inside your ears can cause infections by clogging up the Eustachian tube, a passageway from the pharynx to your middle ear’s cavity.
Smoking can irritate the Eustachian tube and the lining of your middle ear. With its nicotine component, it can also interfere with the function of the neurotransmitters in your auditory nerve that tells the brain about the sound you are hearing.
Swollen or infected adenoids
Frequent infections of the adenoids, or the tissue near the tonsils that traps bacteria and viruses harmful to the body, can affect the Eustachian tube that leads up to the collection of fluid in your middle ear and may result in temporary loss of hearing.
Air pressure changes
Air pressure changes and imbalances can cause a fullness or popping sensation in your ears and may damage it if it happens frequently.
When the causes of ear problems have entirely made their way inside your organ of hearing, symptoms will soon transpire and can be felt and can lead to ear infections if not treated right away. Here are some of the typical ear problem symptoms:
Drainage or discharge
Medically known as ‘otorrhea’, ear discharges are drainages from your ears. This discharge may come out watery, bloody, or in the form of thick and whitish pus. Each discharge can also come with other symptoms depending on its causes.
Dizziness or spinning
When you feel dizzy or like a whirling sensation, it might be caused by the inner ear. It can also aggravate by doing head movements or abrupt changes in your positioning.
Pain in the ear
One of the most common symptoms encountered with ear infections is the pain inside the ear. Although it may vary depending on the cause, it is usually characterized by a sharp sensation that manifests as long as the infection occurs.
Ear problems can cause imbalance and sensations like floating, heavy head, or instability, especially in the darkness. Vertigo can also be related to balance issues caused by ear problems.
Nausea or vomiting
Nausea is the urge to vomit, and when prolonged, it can cause you to vomit. Ear problems can cause both and can become debilitating symptoms if not treated right away.
Ringing, buzzing, or pounding in the ear
Ear problems can also cause sensations inside your ear like ringing, buzzing, or pounding that can be irritating and may contribute to the actual pain you are already experiencing from the ear infection.
Diagnosis of Ear Problems
Once symptoms caused by ear problems have manifested, it can now be easily diagnosed what specific problem you are experiencing so that proper treatment and medication can be done to relieve you of this inconvenience. Here are some of the most common ear diagnoses experienced by the majority:
The most common diagnosis among ear problems is hearing loss or the inability of the organ of hearing to fulfill its primary function either for a short period and temporary only or for a long time or permanently. It can be categorized into three:
(1) sensorineural hearing loss;
(2) conductive hearing loss and;
(3) mixed hearing loss.
Tinnitus is a medical disorder that makes you hear sounds inside your body instead of hearing from an outside source. Although you can still listen to sounds like buzzing and humming, it is often characterized as the “ringing in the ears.”
Meniere’s Disease affects only one ear, occurs in the inner ear that eventually leads to spells of dizziness or vertigo. It can happen at any age, although this disease usually starts between the early and middle-age stages of adulthood.
The abnormal skin growth inside the middle ear just behind the eardrum is called cholesteatoma. It is ordinarily congenital; however, complications from chronic ear infections may also result in this. Those who have this condition manifest painless discharges from the ear.
The abnormal bone growth inside the ear, on the other hand, is called otosclerosis. This abnormality is the common cause of loss of hearing among young adults. It affects the normal function of the three (3) tiny bones inside the ears, namely hammer, anvil, and stirrup.
Acoustic neuroma is the slow growth of tumors from Schwann cells overproduction affecting the vestibular system. Although rare and noncancerous, it affects and presses the nerves of the hearing and balance regions in the inner ear.
When the mastoid air cells around the inner and middle ear get infected by bacteria, mastoiditis occurs. This ear problem affects the mastoid process, the prominent bone behind the ear.
Medically termed as ‘otitis externa’, Swimmer’s Ear is a bacterial infection in the ear canal but can also be viral or fungal in some cases. One way to identify this is by tugging or pressing your ear – if it hurts, you have Swimmer’s Ear.
Ear trauma results from injuries caused by different mishandling of your ears. Injuries may range from minor ones like a slap to the ear or a cotton swab injury down to severe ones like a blow to the head from a vehicular accident.
Now that you are wiser in terms of the causes, symptoms, and diagnoses of ear problems, you can take extra care of your hearing organ. You can use all the information you have learned today in the proper treatment and medication of you and your loved ones’ potential ear problems and be more cautious and vigilant towards its prevention. Treat your ears well so that you can continue to listen to the wonders of this world.
Are you experiencing ear problems and want additional help and assistance aside from the information provided here for you today? Don’t worry! Our amazing friends from Cache Valley are here to help you with all your ear, nose, and throat concerns. Visit them now!