Ear Infections All About Ear Conditions

July 1, 2019

ear infection
This gets more kids to the doctor than any other disorder. If your child can’t talk yet, watch for tugging on the ear, fluid coming out of the ear, balance problems, acting fussy, or hearing problems. Children are more susceptible to these infections than adults, in part because of the angle of a tube called the otopharyngeal tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. When you become an adult, this angle changes.

Swimmer’s ear.
This infection can be caused by moisture or scratches – sometimes from headphones or hearing aids – that allow bacteria to grow in your ears. It may be itchy or painful, and some fluid may come out. If you notice any of these symptoms, call your doctor. Ear drops can clear it up, but if you don’t treat it, the problem can become serious.

Affected earwax
Your ears are meant to clean themselves, but sometimes too much wax can build up in them. If this happens, they may itch, rattle, leak fluid, or stink. You may also have hearing problems on one side – the side with the wax – and sometimes feel as if you’re in water. Ask your doctor if you can try using a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, or hydrogen peroxide to soften the wax. She may be able to tell you how to gently rinse it away afterwards. If that doesn’t work, she can safely remove it.

cauliflower ear
Very common among wrestlers, this is caused by repeated blows and cuts to the ear. This can produce blood clots and cause cosmetic bumps. But it affects more than just its appearance. A recent study shows that this type of ear injury can make you more susceptible to infection and loss of hearing.

tinnitus
This buzzing, growling, or ringing in the ears is more a symptom of something else than a medical condition. It could be age-related hearing loss, earwax buildup, or spending too much time in a noisy place. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with your ears, such as if you take certain medications. If you notice this, talk to your doctor. She may be able to treat what’s causing it or suggest things to help you.

Meniere’s disease
This happens when you have too much fluid in the inner part of your ear. Symptoms include ringing in the ears, dizziness and hearing loss. It’s not clear what causes it, and there is no known cure. If it doesn’t go away on its own, you can control it with medication or other treatments. In rare cases, you may need surgery to stop the symptoms.

otosclerosis
Sometimes a bone in the middle ear, called the stapes, gets stuck in place and cannot vibrate. Over time, this can affect your hearing. Your ears may ring, or you may feel dizzy. There is no medication to treat this, but surgery and hearing aids can often help.

vertigo
You get dizzy, can’t keep your balance, and feel a little dizzy. These are all signs of vertigo. Different things can bring it on, including a problem with the “crystals” in your inner ear that tell your brain how your head is moving. This may get better on its own, but in the meantime, your doctor can help ease your symptoms.