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Pediatrics | Adults | Thyroid | Salivary Glands | Voice/Vocal/Speech/Language | Head/Neck | Coblation Tonsillectomy

Ear Surgery and ENT Treatments

The ear is the sense organ that detects sound and helps maintain balance. The ear has 3 parts: outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The outer ear is the most external portion and includes the pinna (visible portion of the ear, external canal, and ear drum (tympanic membrane).

Outer ear problems:
A. Symptoms: pain, drainage, hearing loss, itching, cosmetic deformity, swelling, skin lesion, bleeding

B. Causes: ear wax (cerumen), infection, tumors (benign or malignant), dermatitis, congenital malformation, trauma, acquired deformity, foreign body or bug in the ear

The middle ear is an air-filled cavity behind the ear drum. It includes the three ear bones (ossicles): malleus (or hammer), incus (or anvil), and stapes (or stirrup). The malleus has a long process (the manubrium, or handle) that is attached to the mobile portion of the eardrum. The incus is the bridge between the malleus and stapes. The stapes is the smallest named bone in the human body. Movement of the ear drum causes the ossicles to move and transfers sound energy to the cochlea (a portion of the inner ear). The Eustachian tube opening is also within the middle ear. This tube connects the middle ear to the back of the nose (nasopharynx). The Eustachian tube opens with swallowing and positive pressure. Opening of the Eustachian tube is necessary to equalize pressure between the middle ear and the surrounding atmosphere.

The inner ear includes both the organ of hearing (cochlea) and the organ for balance (labyrinth or vestibular apparatus). The cochlea contains cells that convert sound energy to electrical energy which is transferred to the brain via the auditory portion of the eighth cranial nerve. The vestibular apparatus consists of 3 semi-circular canals and the vestibule. It contains cells that are attuned to the effects of gravity and motion. These cells detect the movement of fluid in the vestibular apparatus and convert it to electrical energy that is transferred to the brain via the vestibular portion of the eighth cranial nerve. The cochlea and vestibular cells are called "hair cells" because they have fingerlike projections (cilia) that extend from the main cell body.

Every day, millions of people suffer from ear problems that can be relieved by medical or surgical treatment. Ear problems cause a patient to complain with many of the same symptoms.

Common disorders of the ear involve blockage and infections which can affect hearing and balance. Jacksonville ENT Surgery and Dr. Charles Greene strive to provide the latest ENT care to our patients who suffer from recurring inner ear infection, dizziness, balance disorders, hearing loss, ringing in the ears or tonsil infection. To learn more about common ear diseases, ear disorders, ear infections and ear surgery, click on an ENT link below:

Middle ear problems:
A. Symptoms: hearing loss, pain, drainage, swelling, dizziness, tugging on ears (pediatric patients (Peds)) restless sleep (Peds), irritable (Peds), popping or pulsating noise in the ear, bleeding

B. Causes: infection, hole in the ear drum (perforation), tumor (benign or malignant), otosclerosis, trauma, ossicular chain disruption, Eustachian tube dysfunction, scaring of the ear drum (tympanosclerosis)
Inner ear problems:
A. Symptoms: dizziness, hearing loss, balance instability, nausea, vomiting, pain, tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, thumping, fluttering or popping or pulsating noise in the ear)

B. Causes: infection, damage to the hearing or vestibular nerves, perilymphatic fistula (common for divers), trauma, tumors (benign or malignant), Menniere's disease, positional vertigo (BPPV), anxiety, migraine headaches, noise trauma (loud music, loud machines, firearms)

About 80% of pediatric patients will experience an ear infection before age 5. That means most of us will have visited an ENT doctor before we’re adults. Since earaches and other ear disorders can have various causes, it is always a good idea to see an ENT physician to determine if the symptoms are being referred from other areas of the head and neck. Untreated ear infections and other ear disorders can lead to hearing loss, deafness or impaired equilibrium. An Ear, Nose and Throat specialist is an expert in evaluating ear problems combining the information learned from the ENT patient with the physical evidence of a thorough ear exam. Knowing exactly what is going on with your ear, nose and throat is the first step in determining the best course of corrective actions. Use the Click to Call feature at the top of this web page and make your ENT appointment with Dr. Greene today.