Ear Drum Perforations
Perforations of the ear drum usually result from infection or trauma. The most common traumatic injuries causing a perforation are a slap on the ear or trauma from water skiing or diving. Perforations due to chronic infection may not heal and can be associated with some degree of hearing loss. Surgical procedures may be required to repair the ear drum (tympanoplasty) and may include surgery on the mastoid bone around the ear (tympanomastoidectomy).
Trauma to the outside of the ear can cause lacerations that may require surgical repair. Complex repairs may require staged procedures. Blunt trauma can cause a blood clot to form under the skin of the ear, which can affect the blood supply to the ear cartilage causing distortion and deformity (Wrestler’s ear or Cauliflower ear). It is important that this is diagnosed and treated quickly to prevent permanent deformity of the ear.
Ear pain is a common complaint and can result from infection, poor Eustachian tube function or temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ). TMJ is a frequent cause of pain in the ear area and is often misdiagnosed. Treatment can include anti-inflammatory medication and a dental splint.
Serous Otitis Media (Middle Ear Fluid)
Serous Otitis Media, or fluid behind the eardrum, can have multiple causes.
Symptoms of Serous Otitis Media can include:
- Hearing loss
- Blocked sensation
This test detects disorders of the middle ear. Your doctor will first examine your ear canal to make sure there is a clear path to your ear drum. A device is placed into your ear to change the air pressure while the tympanogram records the results. You will hear a series of loud tones as the measurements are being recorded. The measurements will show your doctor your ear’s response to the varying pressures and identify problems needing medical attention.
Feeling unstable, lightheaded, or dizzy can be the result of many different factors, including inner ear disease, medication usage, allergies, poor circulation, or neurological disorders. Although the condition is highly treatable, it is important for your physician to be able to determine the root cause of dizziness before recommending a course of treatment.
The term dizziness is general term that represents a different sensation for different people. In some cases, “dizziness” refers to the sensation of vertigo, which is the feeling that the environment is in motion, or spinning, when there is no movement. People with vertigo often say that they feel as though they are spinning, swaying, or being pulled to one direction. Those who suffer from vertigo may also feel nauseated and often have trouble walking or standing.
Causes of Dizziness
Dizziness can be caused by several conditions, including:
Poor circulation. When the brain does not receive enough blood flow, patients may experience a sensation of lightheadedness. Dizziness caused by poor circulation is often seen in those who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol.
Anxiety. During an anxiety attack, patients may begin to hyperventilate, causing mild dizziness and tingling in the extremities.
Vertigo. the unpleasant sensation of movement when there is none, may be caused by a variety of disorders, including Meniere’s disease or benign positional vertigo.
Migraines. Although migraines are normally characterized by severe headaches and blurred vision, some patients may also experience temporary symptoms of vertigo.
Medications. Some medications, such as salicylates, quinine, and aminoglycosides, may cause vertigo.
Evaluation of Dizziness
To pinpoint the cause of dizziness, an appointment with an ENT physician may be necessary. A complete history and physical examination will be performed. Because the inner ear is a critical portion of the balance system, a full hearing test will also be performed. In certain cases, specialized balance testing, or vestibular testing, and/or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be ordered.
Treatment of Dizziness
Depending on the root cause of a patient’s dizziness, treatment plans may vary. Because dizziness can be caused by a wide range of disorders, it is important to see a physician if symptoms of dizziness are present. After a thorough head and neck evaluation, an ENT physician will be better able to determine the cause of the dizziness and develop a treatment plan.
Meniere’s Disease is a disorder of the inner ear for which the cause is unknown. People suffering from this disease experience a combination of episodic rotational vertigo, Tinnitus, hearing loss and ear fullness. Once you have been diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease your ENT physician will recommend a course of treatment to help relieve your symptoms.