Otitis externa, also called swimmer's ear, is an inflammation,
irritation, or infection of the external ear canal. The ear canal is the
outer ear between the opening of the ear and the eardrum. When water
remains trapped in the ear canal, bacteria or fungi can grow. Otitis
externa is a painful condition that commonly affects swimmers.
Middle Ear Problems (Otitis Media)
Inflammation or infection of the middle ear (behind the eardrum).
Usually, this is caused by infection.
Ringing, buzzing roaring, clicking humming, or heart-like pulsing in one
or both ears, usually caused by damage from noise exposure, or aging. It
can also be a symptom of infection, ear wax impaction, TMJ
(temporomandibular joint) disorders or a side effect from certain
medications. It can also be a symptom of more serious illness such as
high blood pressure, thyroid disorders, Meniere’s disease, blood vessel
disorders or tumors.
Ear Infections (Acute Otitis Media)
Caused by bacteria or a virus that affects the middle ear, the
air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating
bones of the ear. Ear infections frequently are painful because of
inflammation and buildup of fluids in the middle ear. Long-term problems
related to ear infections—persistent fluids in the middle ear,
persistent infections or frequent infections—can cause hearing problems
and other serious complications such as a tear or perforation of the
eardrum, infection spreading to nearby tissues and bones.
Nerve Pain (Otalgia)
Earaches may be caused by injury, infection, or irritation in the ear.
Earaches may also be caused by referred pain. Referred pain is pain that
is felt somewhere other than the site of the infection or injury. Pain
originating in the jaw or teeth may be felt in the ear. Many diseases
can cause ear pain and since the ears are on the same nerve pathways as
the cranial, facial, and spinal nerves, pain may be felt in the ears
that originated in another area of the body. Common causes of earaches
include: ear infection, changes in pressure, ear wax buildup, a foreign
object in ear, sore throat, sinus infection, shampoo or water in the
ear, use of cotton swabs in the ear. Less common causes of earaches
include: temporomandibular joint (TMJ), syndrome, perforated eardrum,
arthritis affecting the jaw, tooth infection, impacted tooth, eczema in
the ear canal, trigeminal neuralgia (chronic facial nerve pain).
Balance Disorders and Dizziness
A balance disorder is a condition that makes you feel unsteady or dizzy,
as if you are moving, spinning or floating, although you are standing,
sitting or lying still. Balance disorders are caused by health
conditions, medications, or a problem in the inner ear or brain. Our
sense of balance is controlled by a structure in the inner ear called
the labyrinth. The other important inner ear structure is the cochlea,
which enables us to hear. All of the parts of the inner ear involved in
balance are called the vestibular system. The vestibular system works
with the central nervous system and other sensory and motor systems in
the body such as the eyes, bones and joints to check and maintain the
body’s position at rest or in motion.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.