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Disorders of the ear can be experienced by everyone, both children and adults. Not only makes the ears hurt, this condition can also cause the sufferer to lose hearing. However, with proper treatment, ear disorders can be cured
The ear consists of 3 parts, namely the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The three parts of the ear have their respective functions in capturing sound and channeling it to the brain so you can hear. In addition, the ear can also function to maintain body balance.
Because the function of the ear is so important, it is natural that the ears are always cared for and well cared for. However, the ear can sometimes be disturbed or affected by disease. As a result, the function of the sense of hearing and body balance can be problematic.
Some Kinds of Ear Disorders
There are several types of diseases or disorders of the ear, including:
1. Otitis externa
Otitis externa or swimmer's ear is an inflammation of the outer ear. This disorder can occur if you often get water in your ears, for example due to swimming.
Ears that frequently get water will become wet and damp, making it easier for bacteria or fungi to more easily breed in the ear canal.
In addition to the ear canal that is often wet, otitis externa can also be caused by other things, such as cleaning the ear too often or too vigorously, cuts or injuries, foreign objects ingested, or problems with the ear skin, such as dry skin or eczema..
Otitis externa can cause the following symptoms:
- Itchy ears
- Pain, especially when the ear is touched or pulled
- Ears look red and swollen
- fluid coming out of the ear
- hearing loss
- Ears feel full or blocked
- Bumps appear on the neck or around the ears due to swollen lymph nodes
2. Otitis media
Otitis media is a disorder of the middle ear caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Otitis media is more common in children than adults.
Symptoms caused by otitis media include ear pain, hearing loss, fever, and discharge from the ear that is yellowish, greenish, or brown, and has a foul smell.
3. Otitis internal
Otitis interna is an infection of the inner ear which controls hearing function and maintains body balance. Disorders of this ear can occur due to untreated otitis media and viral or bacterial infections in the ear.
Symptoms of an inner ear infection include vertigo, dizziness, difficulty standing or sitting, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, ear pain, and hearing loss.
4. Ruptured eardrum
The eardrum or tympanic membrane is a thin membrane that separates the ear canal and the middle ear. If there is interference with the ear, the eardrum may burst.
There are several things that can cause the eardrum to burst, including:
- Middle ear infection or severe untreated otitis media
- Ear stuffed with foreign object
- The habit of picking the ears too deeply using certain objects, such as cotton buds or toothpicks
- A very loud sound, like an explosion
- Conflict or injury to the head or ear
- Barotrauma or sudden changes in air pressure, for example when on an airplane or diving
A ruptured eardrum can cause symptoms such as ear pain, discharge from the ear, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and vertigo or dizziness.
5. Ears ringing
Ringing in the ears or tinnitus is characterized by a ringing sensation in the ears that can last for a short or long time. This ear disorder can be caused by many things, including:
- Disorders of nerve cells in the ear
- The habit of hearing the sound at a loud volume, either for a short time or for a long time
- Clogging of earwax
- Earbones harden
This ear disorder is caused by the growth of abnormal skin tissue near the eardrum or middle ear space. The growth of this skin tissue can cause tissue and bone around the middle ear to be damaged, so that the function of the ear is disturbed.
Cholesteatoma can cause various symptoms, such as pain, foul-smelling ears, discharge from the ear, full or blocked ears, hearing loss, and weakening of the facial muscles on the side of the ear affected by cholesteatoma.
When the ear picks up sound, the eardrum and ossicles in the middle ear vibrate to create auditory impulses or stimuli that can be sent to the brain. When the stimulus reaches the brain, the hearing process occurs.
However, in otosclerosis, the ossicles in the middle ear are stiff and cannot move properly. Disorders of this ear can make it difficult for sufferers to hear and often experience ringing in the ears.
In addition to the above conditions, there are other types of ear disorders, such as acoustic neuroma or tumors of the ear nerves and prebiacusis, which is a condition where hearing function declines due to aging.
Treating Ear Disorders
If you experience symptoms of ear disorders, immediately go to an ENT specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
To diagnose the type of ear disorder you are experiencing and determine what is causing it, the doctor can perform a physical examination of the ear using an otoscope and perform other investigations, such as tympanometry, hearing tests, and CT or MRI scans of the head and ears.
After the cause of the ear disorder you are experiencing is known, the doctor can provide treatment in the form of:
Medication will be given according to the cause of the ear problem you are experiencing. The doctor can prescribe antibiotics in the form of ear drops to kill the bacteria causing the infection as well as antifungal drugs to get rid of the fungus that grows and infects your ear.
To treat severe swelling and inflammation in the ear, the doctor will also prescribe corticosteroid ear drops. If ear problems are causing you pain, your doctor can prescribe pain relievers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
If antibiotics are not effective in treating ear problems or if fluid builds up in your ears for more than 3 months, your doctor may perform surgery on the eardrum or myringotomy.This procedure is done to drain fluid or pus trapped behind the eardrum.
In the case of a ruptured eardrum, the doctor can patch or close the hole with a patch or perform tympanoplasty surgery. Surgery is also usually performed to treat cholesteatoma and acoustic neuroma.
Use of hearing aids
If your hearing loss is severe enough, your doctor will usually recommend using a hearing aid. In certain cases, the doctor may also recommend you to undergo cochlear implant surgery.
Ear disorders are a serious he alth problem because they can cause hearing loss and other complications, such as meningitis. Therefore, you need to immediately consult an ENT doctor to get the right treatment if you experience symptoms of ear disorders.