Ear Problems

Hearing loss, ear infection, and tinnitus. These are just a few of the things our otolaryngologists deal with daily. They know how painful ear problems can be whether it be the physical pain of an ear infection or the emotional toll hearing loss can take on a person. urgENT’s ENT specialists are trained to approach every issue carefully and thoroughly so that we can diagnose and treat our patients effectively.

What To Do About an Ear Infection

An ear infection is typically caused by a blocked eustachian tube normally caused by a cold, allergy, or upper respiratory infection. The presence of the bacteria or virus within this blockage can lead to fluid buildup of pus or mucus behind the eardrum. This causes otitis media, or an ear infection; the buildup of the blockage causes pressure which leads to the common symptoms of earache, swelling, and redness.

If gone untreated, ear infections can become very serious. Severe ear infections can lead to severe pain and hearing loss. Otitis media can also spread to nearby structures of the head causing more infection. It is important to recognize the symptoms of an ear infection so that it can be treated quickly; and, as urgENT accepts walk-ins, you can be seen the same day that you start to experience symptoms.

Common Symptoms of Ear Infections

Other causes of throat pain include:

  • Pulling or scratching at the ear
  • Hearing problems
  • Crying or irritability
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Ear drainage

Other causes of throat pain include:

  • Sore throats
  • Strep throat
  • Post nasal drip
  • Tonsillitis

Once you are in the office, the doctor will use an otoscope to look in the ear and assess it. He or she may also use puffs of air to see if the eardrum moves. If it does not, this means that an infection is probably present.

The doctor will prescribe medications to combat your ear infection. It is important to take the medication as directed because the medication typically gets rid of the earache very quickly. This means that people may stop taking the medicine and the infection will get severe again.Taking the medication for as long as it is prescribed will ensure that the infection is completely eradicated.

I think I might have an Ear Infection

What are Ear Tubes?

Tympanostomy tubes, myringotomy tubes, or ear tubes: No matter what they are called, they are all the same thing--small cylinders placed in the eardrum so that air can pass into the middle ear. They are typically made of metal, Teflon, or plastic and may have coating to reduce infection. They are used to prevent chronic ear infections and other problems related to chronic ear infections. They may not prevent all ear infections, but they will help to make ear infections less frequent.

The Two Types of Ear Tubes are:

  • Short Term Ear Tubes: Small tubes that stay in the ear for anywhere from 6 months to a year and then fall out on their own.
  • Long Term Ear Tubes: Larger than short-term tubes, these tubes have flanges on them to secure them in place so that you don’t have to worry about the ear tubes coming out. Since they are“locked” in place, they don’t always fall out on their own. If they don’t fall out, they will need to be removed by an otolaryngologist.

Doctors recommend tubes to:

  • Reduce the risk of future ear infection
  • Restore hearing loss caused by middle ear fluid
  • Improve speech and balance problems
  • Improve behavior problems due to chronic ear infection

What is Ear Wax?

Everybody produces at least some ear wax, although some may produce more than others. Earwax is produced by the body to coat the ear canal and act as a type of water repellent. Earwax is perfectly healthy in normal amounts, and ears are generally self-cleaning. Normally, ear wax is migrated towards the front of the ear by ear-canal skin that is slowly moving towards the outside of the ear. Once the earwax gets to the edge of the ear, it can dry and fall out.

Because ear wax is not formed in the deep part of the ear canal, when a patient has a blockage, it is because they used something to push the wax deeper to clean it out.

Once you are in the office, the doctor will use an otoscope to look in the ear and assess it. He or she may also use puffs of air to see if the eardrum moves. If it does not, this means that an infection is probably present.

Here are some urgENT tips for risk-free ear wax removal:

  • Under normal conditions, the ear canals shouldn't have to be cleaned because they are “self-cleaning.”
  • If you would like to take care of ear wax using home treatments, focus on softening the wax so that it will come out easily. Mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial drops may be placed in the ear. While these are not as strong as prescription drops, they are still effective in most cases.
  • Do not use cotton swabs! When people use cotton swabs to get wax out of their ears, all they are really doing is pushing the wax deeper, which could lead to hearing loss and inner ear damage.

If home remedies or over the counter medication has failed to clear up your excessive ear problems, it may be time to consult an urgENTCare ENT specialist. Whatever it may be, we would like to see you happy, healthy, and pain-free once more.

Don’t waste time seeing a specialist for each of your unique needs, urgENT provides our patients with complete care for all.

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