Ear Conditions & Treatment
Ear tubes are small tubes made out of plastic or metal that are placed into the
ear drum to ventilate the middle ear. The middle ear is, under normal
circumstances, filled with air at the same pressure as the surrounding
atmosphere. The pressure is maintained at this normal level by a natural
tube called the Eustachian tube. If the Eustachian tube is not functioning
properly, it will not open. This causes the pressure in the middle ear
to drop, and fluid accumulation may lead to infection. Ear tubes are placed
to break this cycle, allowing the ears to drain and to ventilate.
Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL), or
sudden deafness, is a rapid loss of hearing. SSHL can happen to a person all at once or
over a period of up to 3 days. It should be considered a medical emergency.
A person who experiences SSHL should visit a doctor immediately.
The presence of
tinnitus is a very common and annoying occurrence. It may be intermittent or constant
in character, mild or severe in intensity, and vary from a low roar to
a high-pitched type of sound. It may be subjective (audible only to the
patient) or objective (audible to others). It may or may not be associated
with hearing impairment. Tinnitus must always be thought of as a symptom
and not a disease, just as pain in the arm or leg is a symptom and not
a disease. Most often, disorders of the inner ear are to blame.
Tympanoplasty: Repair of Ear Drum Perforation
Perforations of the eardrum, or tympanic membrane, can occur as a result
of infections or trauma. Small perforations often heal on their own, but
large perforations may require surgical repair. Surgery to
reconstruct the tympanic membrane (tympanoplasty) is usually performed under general anesthesia.