Causes … symptoms … treatment

The ear consists of 3 parts and they are: (the outer ear – the middle ear – the inner ear), and any of these parts can be exposed to inflammation and affect the sense of hearing, so we will deal with the inflammation that occurs in each part, its causes, symptoms and methods of treatment.

But before that, we must know that God Almighty has created for us natural defense means to protect the ear from any infection that may affect it.

The natural defense of the ear:

  • Wax: It is the substance that is secreted by the glands, this substance is water-resistant and somewhat acidic and works to inhibit the growth of bacteria and collect dead skin cells and dirt and expel them from the ear.
  • The Cartilage of the Ear: It is the one that partially covers it, preventing foreign bodies from entering the ear canal.

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Otitis External or swimmer’s ear:

Initially, the outer ear is a flap of the ear, which is a cartilage that collects sound and directs it to the eardrum through the ear canal, and its exposure to inflammation greatly affects hearing.

Causes of otitis externa:

The outer ear may be exposed to infection due to several factors such as a fungal infection or infection with a skin disease, or the use of cleaning sticks and rubbing the ear vigorously, which causes scratching and wounding of the skin and providing an appropriate environment for the growth of bacteria and the occurrence of infection, and it is also possible for excessive moisture in the ear such as heavy sweat or water remaining
In the ear after swimming or bathing, they create an environment suitable for bacterial growth.

Symptoms of external otitis media:

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The symptoms of otitis externa appear clearly, as you can feel severe pain in the ear when touching or moving it, the inability to hear well, the feeling of itching in the ear canal, and excessive fluid discharge from the ear.

But if the infection is left untreated, the symptoms will become more severe and your feeling of pain increases and may reach the face, side of the head or neck, with the entire ear canal being blocked, swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck, as well as a high temperature.

Methods for treating external otitis media:

The doctor treats otitis with anti-fungal medications and painkillers, and if the infection has reached the ear canal, he installs a wick in the ear, which is a gauze that contains anti-fungal and analgesic substance, and is placed inside the ear to treat the infection.
After treatment, you should always keep your ears dry and wipe them gently.

And you should never neglect the treatment of ear infection in its beginning so that it does not cause any serious complications, such as deformation or erosion of the ear flannel or the transmission of infection to the deep tissues, so that no surgical intervention is required.

Second: otitis media

is one of the most common types of ear infections, but what is the middle ear?

It is the air-filled space behind the eardrum and contains the small vibrating ear bones. Inflammation occurs because germs enter it through the nose or throat.

Causes of otitis media:

Your exposure to colds and influenza is one of the main causes of otitis media, as well as allergies, tonsillitis, exposure to cigarette smoke, and fluid accumulation in the ear that leads to blockage of the auditory canal and thus infection.

Symptoms of otitis media:

When otitis media occurs, some symptoms appear, such as a feeling of mild or severe pain that is intolerable, and a yellow-colored viscous fluid is released if the inflammation causes a rupture in the eardrum membrane, but once the inflammation subsides, the tympanic membrane heals on its own, in addition to problems with Hearing, ringing in the ears, loss of balance, and itchy ears.
In addition to difficulties sleeping at night, otitis media can also be associated with feeling dizzy or accompanied by a high temperature.

Otitis media complications:

Leaving ear infections untreated properly may lead to complications, which are:

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  • A permanent hole in the eardrum.
  • Reduced hearing ability, and this appears with inflammation and then improves after recovery, but recurring inflammation and fluid accumulation in the ear may lead to damage to the eardrum and may lead to permanent hearing loss.
  • Mastoiditis, which is the bone protruding behind the ear, which can lead to bone damage or the formation of pus-filled cysts.
  • Damage to the hearing bones and the seventh nerve.
  • Brain membrane inflammation.
  • A brain abscess.
  • Damage to venous drainage in the brain.
  • In rare cases, if the infection is serious, it can spread to other tissues in the skull, including the brain or the membranes surrounding the brain (meningitis).
  • A ruptured eardrum.

It may heal within 72 hours and in some cases require surgical intervention.

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Middle ear infections:

Middle ear infections vary between acute, erectile and chronic:

1- Acute infection : It occurs due to a bacterial or viral infection, and may be the result of complications in the upper respiratory tract.
2- erectivitis : means swelling and fluid accumulation in the middle ear without a bacterial or viral infection, and it may occur due to a dysfunction or blockage in the Eustachian tube.

3- chronic purulent inflammation : it is a permanent infection of the ear and may lead to a perforation of the eardrum.

Factors that increase the risk of developing an ear infection infection:

There are external factors that greatly affect the likelihood of developing ear infection, and they are:

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1- Seasonal factors : Ear infections increase in abundance in autumn and winter, and also people with seasonal allergies are more likely to be infected due to the high numbers of pollen in the air in the spring.
2- air pollution : through exposure to cigarette smoke and high levels of air pollution.

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Treatment for otitis media:

Cases of otitis media need to be treated with antibiotics under the supervision of a doctor, because using them too much may lead to resistance of the bacteria to the medicine.
Sometimes, some cases resolve within the first two days of the infection, and most cases resolve on their own within one to two weeks without treatment.
And the doctor may resort to suctioning the fluid accumulated inside the ear, to get rid of the blockage of the auditory canals, but do not leave colds and flu without treatment, and avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.

Doctor’s diagnosis of otitis media:

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The doctor diagnoses otitis media through the symptoms that describe him, conduct an otoscope, test the efficiency of the middle ear, measure acoustic reflexology (which is the response to sound), or puncture the eardrum with a small syringe to extract a sample of the inflammatory fluid in the ear Interior.

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Among the most common infections that may affect the middle ear:

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Barometric or atmospheric otitis media (air trauma):

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It is the pressure that the eardrum is exposed to when an imbalance occurs between the air pressure in the middle ear and the air pressure in the surrounding environment, causing this type of inflammation in certain cases.

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Causes of atmospheric otitis media:

You may be exposed to this type of inflammation when boarding a plane while it’s on or off, diving, mountain climbing, riding the elevator, or if you are in the hyperbaric oxygen rooms for treatment.

Symptoms of atmospheric otitis media:

When you experience the previous differences in pressure, you may feel ear pain, blockage in the ear, or slight hearing loss. If the pressure is severe, the pain increases and you may feel increased pressure in the ear or bleeding from the ear.

Methods for coping with barometric or atmospheric otitis:

You can overcome the pressure difference by yawning, swallowing, chewing gum, or sucking on candy. These methods help stimulate the muscles that open the Eustachian tubes (Eustachian tubes) and equalize the pressure of the ear.

One of the most famous methods used to overcome the pressure difference is the Valsalva method, which is a good way to equalize the external pressure on the ears. Mouth, like inflating a balloon.

In cases of cold, influenza, sinus infection, ear infection, ear surgery or treatment using compressed oxygen, you should consult your doctor before traveling.

Third: Inner ear infection

Inflammation of the outer and middle ear is the most common, but inflammation can also reach the inner ear. The case of inflammation of the inner ear calls the doctor immediately.

Symptoms of an inner ear infection:

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You can tell if you have inner ear infection or not through certain symptoms such as: tinnitus, dizziness, loss of balance, loss of control over eye movement, loss of hearing in one ear, vomiting, and feeling sick.

Factors that increase the risk of inner ear infection:

There are many factors that increase the risk of developing an inner ear infection, including: persistent otitis media, meningitis, allergies, upper respiratory infections, stress, and smoking.

Diagnostic methods for inner ear infection:

The doctor diagnoses otitis through several methods, such as: hearing test, EEG, magnetic resonance imaging of the head, and electrocystic nystagmus, which is a method used to test eye reactions, and CT imaging of the head (CT scan).

Inner ear infection treatment:

The doctor determines the appropriate method of treatment according to the situation, whether through medication and antibiotics, or through a surgical procedure.

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Meniere’s disease:

Among the diseases that may affect the inner ear, it is a disorder that occurs in the inner ear, and affects only one ear. This disease occurs at any age, but it usually begins to appear between early adulthood and middle age.

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Causes of Meniere’s disease:

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There is not yet a known cause of infection, but there are several factors that cause the disease, such as an abnormal amount of fluid in the inner ear, improper drainage of fluids, viral infection, an abnormal response of the immune system, or genetic factors.

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Symptoms of Meniere’s disease:

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When suffering from this disease, the feeling of dizziness recurs suddenly and lasts from 20 minutes to several hours, and it causes severe dizziness and nausea.
In addition to a feeling of tinnitus, a feeling of ear blockage or pressure in the ear, and at the beginning of the disease the hearing loss is temporary and then recurs, and so on until the patient loses it completely.

Meniere’s disease complications:

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It may cause sudden attacks of dizziness, loss of balance, permanent hearing loss, or fatigue and tiredness.

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Treating Meniere’s disease:

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There is no treatment that completely cures the disease, but there are many medicines that help relieve the symptoms of vertigo, which the doctor prescribes, and the patient can use a hearing aid to help improve the ability to hear in the affected ear, and the doctor may resort to surgery if the cases of dizziness are severe Treatments don’t help relieve them.

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Tips for dealing with Meniere’s disease:

Because there is no specific treatment for the disease, you can follow these tips to alleviate the symptoms and live with them. If you feel a dizzy spell, you should sit and rest completely, and avoid looking at bright lights, watching TV, surfing the Internet, or making a sudden movement because all this increases the feeling Dizzy.
You should calm down after the attacks of dizziness, do not rush to do your normal activities, and get enough rest.
It is best to use good lighting at night, walk with a stick if you have problems with balance, and avoid caffeine drinks and smoking because they affect the fluid balance in the ear.

Never underestimate cases of otitis, and be sure to consult the otolaryngologists at Andalusia Clinics, Sanabel Branch and Prince Fawaz Branch, as soon as you feel any of the symptoms that we have dealt with, to avoid any complications.

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