Chronic Ear Diseases And Conditions

Our ears are incredibly complex.

Ear conditions happen due to a variety of reasons or causes. Some are common while others are more rare, but it is important to understand how these conditions occurred and what can be done to remedy it.

Ear Infections

An ear infection is a condition that affects both children and adults; it occurs when the middle ear is contaminated by a virus or bacteria. Located just behind the eardrum, the middle ear can become inflamed or build up fluid, both of which can create pain. An ear infection involves the blockage of the eustachian tubes caused by a cold, allergies, smoking, or problems with the adenoids.

To diagnose an ear infection, or another condition based on the symptoms you describe and an exam, the practitioner will likely use a lighted instrument (an otoscope) to look at the ears, throat and nasal passage.

Ear infections can present a variety of symptoms, including drainage, hearing loss, pain or pressure in the ear, and fussiness in young children. In many cases, ear infections are acute and clear up without much complication, however for recurring infections or ones that are extremely painful, we recommend making an appointment with our office.

Swimmer’s Ear

Similar in several ways to an ear infection, swimmer’s ear occurs when bacteria grow inside of the ear canal and causes an infection. It’s called “swimmer’s ear” because it is often experienced by individuals who swim and have water that remains in their ears, creating the ideal conditions for the bacteria to flourish. However, other actions can cause swimmer’s ear, including putting cotton swabs or other objects into the ear canal and damaging the skin inside.

At first, the symptoms of swimmer’s ear aren’t extreme, but can worsen over time if left untreated. You may notice a bit of itching or drainage accompanied by a slight redness inside of the ear. Sometimes mild pain is also present when pressing on your ear. These symptoms could continue to become more noticeable as the infection progresses, so be sure to visit our office for the relief you need.

Meniere's Disease

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disease that can cause pressure or pain in one ear. Meniere’s disease is more likely to affect people in their 40s and 50s and is a chronic condition with no cure.

Severe cases present symptoms such as:

Symptoms vary from person to person, and some will experience pressure in the ear, vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus. Many attacks may occur over a period of several days, and others will have an isolated attack. There are various treatment strategies that will relieve Meniere’s disease symptoms.

Potential causes of Meniere’s disease include:

  • Head injury
  • Infection to the inner or middle ear
  • Allergies
  • Alcohol use
  • Stress
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Smoking
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Family history of the disease
  • Respiratory infection
  • Recent viral illness
  • Abnormal immune response
  • Migraines

There are stages of Meniere’s disease and the treatment options will depend on what symptoms you experience. Since all these issues can stand alone or be associated with other diseases, Meniere’s can sometimes be very difficult to diagnose.

If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these conditions, please call our office today to make an appointment with one of our specialists. We’re happy to discuss everything in detail with you to develop a treatment plan for you.