Everyone knows that the ear is responsible for detecting sounds, and plenty of people know that the ears contribute to our sense of balance. Despite that, most of us tend to take our ears for granted in our everyday lives.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of problems that can seriously impact our ears’ function. To avoid, prevent, or delay the development of such issues, it’s important that each of us is aware of some of the common signs and effects. Below, you can read about some of the most common problems affecting the ears from your McAllen sinus specialists at Glatz Group of Valley ENT.
1. Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is one of the most common problems that brings people in to visit their ENT. If you’re experiencing a loss of hearing, seeing a doctor in a timely manner could make a big difference in your recovery. Not all hearing loss is experienced the same, and different types require different treatments. There are three main types of hearing loss
- Conductive: conductive hearing loss involves a buildup of earwax or fluid in the ear, restricting the ear’s ability to conduct soundwaves.
- Sensorineural: sensorineural hearing loss involves nerve damage to the inner ear from loud noises or aging.
- Mixed: mixed hearing loss happens when there are problems in your middle ear and inner ear simultaneously.
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are many conditions and factors that contribute to hearing loss. Determining the cause will allow your doctor to get to the root of your hearing loss and find the proper treatment for your case. Some common causes include the following:
- Old age
- Exposure to loud noise
- Head injury or tumors
- Inherited conditions
For many, hearing loss can be treated with rehab therapy or medical devices, but for others, surgery will be required. If you suspect you are suffering from hearing loss, contact your ear, nose, and throat doctor to get a hearing test and a complete physical exam.
2. Ear Infections
Ear infections are most common in infants, but can also affect adults. These infections occur in the middle ear and are caused by a buildup of fluid and mucus. Ear infections often affect sufferers in the following ways:
- Pain in the ear
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
- Fluid draining out of the ear
- Running a fever
- Loss of hearing
To diagnose an ear infection, your ENT will use an otoscope to examine the inside of your ear. If your doctor determines that you have an ear infection, your provider will either let it heal on its own or prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers, depending on the severity of the case.
Tinnitus is experienced by sufferers as a ringing, roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing sound inside the ear. Cases of tinnitus vary between from person to person and can range from loud and high pitched to soft and low pitched. Those with tinnitus often suffer from trouble hearing, working, and sleeping. Tinnitus is often caused by the following issues and circumstances:
- Loss of hearing from older age
- Being exposed to loud sounds
- Sinus and ear infections
- Problems with your heart or blood vessels
- Meniere’s disease
- A tumor in the brain
- Thyroid issues
- Hormonal changes in women
The treatment that your ENT chooses will depend on the severity of your case, but common solutions may include prescription medication, hearing aids, sound-masking devices, or different tips for how to function and cope with the noise.
4. Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes tinnitus, extreme dizziness, periodic hearing loss, and ear pain and pressure. Those suffering from Meniere’s disease often describe having short spurts of dizziness, tinnitus, or muffled hearing. In severe cases, “drop attacks” will occur in which the sufferer’s dizziness is so intense that it causes the individual to lose their balance and fall to the ground.
Unfortunately, the precise cause of Meniere’s is unknown, but many scientists believe it is caused by increased fluid levels or the mixing of fluids within the canals of the inner ear. Because the exact cause of the disease is unknown, ENTs usually diagnose this disease based on symptoms and a physical exam.
Treatment for Meniere’s won’t cure it, but it will help alleviate the symptoms you experience. Your ENT may recommend taking certain medications to control dizziness, limiting the amount of salt you intake, or taking water pills. You may potentially be eligible for an outer ear device that sends air pulses to the middle ear. If none of these treatments are successful, surgery may be required.
Solve Your Ear Problems When You Visit Your Sinus Specialists at Glatz Group of Valley ENT!
If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms associated with these common ear problems, it may be time to schedule an exam with your McAllen sinus relief specialists.
Don’t wait to get relief and take your life back. Make an appointment today to get a hearing assessment and discuss your treatment options with the team at Glatz Group.