Our ears give us the ability to hear and help us with balance, especially while moving. Ear disease can cause significant discomfort and hearing loss, making proper management of ear disease critical for optimal health and quality of life. At Acadian Ear, Nose and Throat Center, we offer comprehensive diagnostics and treatment for a wide range of ear diseases to help our patients preserve their hearing, improve their balance and enhance their health overall.

The ear has many different parts that could be affected by disease or trauma, including the ear canal, the middle ear and the inner ear. The inner ear is where nerves deliver sound signals and feelings associated with balance to the brain, and the place where many disorders develop. However, all the parts are susceptible to trauma and infection, which may result in damage to the ears ranging from minor to severe.

Conditions We Treat

Otitis Externa (Swimmer’s Ear)

This condition leads to inflammation and infection in the ear canal, which can cause itchiness and pain. Because infection is often present, the disorder may also be accompanied by fever and swollen lymph nodes. It is usually caused by moisture inside the ear canal and can be treated with medication to stop the infection and ease the inflammation.

Otitis Media

This medical term refers to the standard middle ear infection frequently seen in children. It can be caused by viral, bacterial or fungal infections and treatment will depend on the type of infection present. Symptoms of otitis media include inflammation, pain and temporary loss of hearing. Pressure can build inside the ear, which can lead to the sudden development of a hole in the eardrum in some cases. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat this condition in most cases.

Acoustic Neuroma

This relatively rare condition is characterized by the formation of a benign tumor that surrounds the nerve responsible for transmitting balance messages to the brain from the inner ear. The growth can cause pain, balance issues, hearing loss and vertigo. As the tumor grows, it can compress areas of the brain, leading to facial weakness, difficulty swallowing and hoarseness. Radiation to shrink the tumor or surgery to remove it may be recommended for patients where the size or location is starting to cause significant complications.

Meniere’s Disease

This vestibular disorder is a chronic condition that affects both balance and hearing. Symptoms include sudden, intense episodes of vertigo, ear fullness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and fluctuating hearing loss. Over time, hearing loss may become permanent, starting with the lower tones. There is no cure for Meniere’s disease, but there are medications and lifestyle changes that can help to manage symptoms of the condition.

Tinnitus

Described as a persistent hissing, ringing or buzzing sound, tinnitus is not a disorder but a symptom of many different diseases of the ear. While it is typically accompanied by hearing loss, that is not always the case. The origins of tinnitus can be traced to a problem with the auditory nerve that runs between the inner ear and the brain, the ear itself and the parts of the brain that process sound. Tinnitus is a common byproduct of the aging process and related hearing loss. However, it is also a frequent symptom of disorders like Meniere’s disease, otosclerosis and infections. Diagnosis and treatment of these conditions is often sufficient in addressing the tinnitus.

Otosclerosis

This condition occurs when spongy tissue in the middle ear builds up and prevents the primary bone in the middle ear from functioning properly. This impairment can lead to hearing loss, which can be repaired in some instances if it is identified. The growth of tissue can also extend to the inner ear over time, which may lead to permanent hearing loss. The condition may be treated with the addition of hearing aids or surgical removal of the small bones in the middle ear and replacement with synthetic implants.

Cholesteatoma

An abnormal growth of skin cells characterizes this ear condition, which originates in the middle ear and can lead to the destruction of some of the vital structure of the middle ear. If left unchecked, it can also progress to the area between the middle ear and brain, leaving the brain vulnerable to infection. A person might identify cholesteatoma through hearing loss, discharge from the ear, bleeding, vertigo, tinnitus, and ear and head pain.

Treatment Options

While these ear diseases can be severe, particularly if they are not promptly treated, there are ways to manage and even reverse these conditions. At Acadian Ear, Nose and Throat Center, our first goal is to accurately diagnose your disease, since many ear disorders feature similar symptoms and cannot be identified without in-depth examination. Once the condition is correctly determined, we offer a range of treatment options from medication to surgical procedures. We also provide a full spectrum of hearing services as well as an assortment of hearing aid options for patients that have suffered hearing loss because of their condition.

If you are struggling with pain, hearing loss or balance issues because of an unidentified ear condition, our center can help. Schedule your appointment with Acadian Ear, Nose and Throat Center today by calling our office at 337-237-0650.

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