Hearing and balance problems are often inter-related conditions, as part of the inner ear, also known as the labyrinth, interacts with other body systems like the eyes, bones and joints to maintain balance. Problems within the ear or vestibular system can cause hearing loss and balance problems, which affect more than two million people each year. Treatment for hearing and balance disorders may involve treating the underlying cause of the condition. Patients experiencing any of these complex conditions should work together with their doctor to receive effective treatment.
We provide treatments for the following:
- Infections (Otitis Media) An ear infection, also known as otitis media, is a very common condition that develops as a result of a buildup of fluid in the Eustachian tubes, the tubes which connect the eardrum to the nose. Patients with an ear infection may experience earache, hearing loss, fever, ear discharge, headache and dizziness.
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Ear Drum Perforations
The tympanic membrane, or ear drum, is made of tissue similar to skin and can be easily damaged or perforated by injury or infection. While some cases heal on their own, many require surgery to repair the perforation.
- Surfer’s Ear (Exostosis) Surfer's ear, known medically as exostosis, refers to an abnormal bone growth within the ear canal that can narrow the passage and block the eardrum. Surfer's ear is caused by repeated exposure to the cold wind and cold water often experienced while surfing or swimming. The condition is much less prevalent in individuals who swim or surf in warmer waters.Patients with this condition may experience itchiness in the ears or feel that their ear is plugged. The blockage may result in difficulty cleaning the ear of water, wax and other substances. The buildup of fluid in turn may lead to inflammation and infection, resulting in earache and even loss of hearing. An exostosis can develop in as few as 5 years if precautions are not taken by individuals who spend extensive periods of time in cold water.
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Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)
Swimmer's ear, or otitis externa, is an ear infection caused when bacteria found in water penetrate the ear canal. Occasionally, fungi or viruses may also cause this condition. Swimmer's ear usually only affects one ear and is most common among children, young adults and people who suffer from chronic middle ear infections.
- Balance Disorders and Vertigo Normal balance requires the work of three sensory systems: the visual; the vestibular, which is located in the inner ear; and the somatosensory, which involves the muscular and skeletal systems. These systems, as well as the brain and nervous systems, can be the source of balance problems. When these systems do not function properly, vertigo, spinning, disorientation, trouble focusing the eyes, and poor balance may result. Positional Vertigo is very common and due to debris in the inner ear. This condition is treated with the Epley or Semont maneuvers your doctor will use during your initial visit.
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- Ear Ringing (Tinnitus) Tinnitus is a sensation of noise in the ears which may manifest itself as ringing, buzzing, clicking, roaring or hissing. Tinnitus is extremely common, experienced by as many as one in five individuals. Usually not a serious medical problem, tinnitus can nonetheless be extremely intrusive, affecting the patient's quality of life. It is considered a symptom, caused by an underlying condition such as a problem with the inner or middle ear. Tinnitus is diagnosed through physical examination and an audiological examination.
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- Hearing Loss Hearing loss is the sudden or gradual decrease in how well an individual can hear sounds. Hearing loss can be mild or severe, reversible, temporary or permanent, and may affect one or both ears.The most common cause of hearing loss is age, affecting up to 25 percent of people between the ages of 65 and 75 and up to 75 percent of those over the age of 75. Age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis, results from changes in the ear which cause gradual hearing loss. Some individuals are hearing-impaired or deaf as a result of a congenital defect or because of an illness, such as Ménière's disease.