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How We Hear
Beyond the eardrum, in the middle ear chamber, are three tiny, linked bones called the middle ear or ossicles.
Sensori-neural Hearing Loss
A sensori-neural or nerve type hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or the nerve of hearing which connects the inner ear with the brain.
Sensori-neural hearing loss is commonly treated with hearing aids. Recent advances in micro-technology have greatly improved the performance of today’s hearing aids. As a result, hearing aids are getting smaller and better at amplifying sound and can be tailored to matching individual patient patters of hearing loss.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when either the outer ear, the eardrum, the middle ear, or the middle ear bones become diseased or injured. Your first warning of a conductive loss may be a subdued quality in the
sounds you hear. The most common cause of conductive hearing loss is wax impaction, which can be easily treated with microscopic removal of the wax in clinic.
A genetic cause of acquired hearing loss can cause the stapes, or third of the hearing bones in the middle ear, to become stuck. Surgical correction of this conductive hearing loss can result in improvement in this problem, and sometimes even prevent the need for hearing aids.
Foreign Bodies in the Ear
Some objects placed in the ear, usually in children, may not cause symptoms and may just be found by the pediatrician. Other objects, such as food and insects, may cause pain in the ear, redness, or drainage. Hearing may be affected if the object is blocking the ear canal. They can usually be easily removed in the clinic with use of the microscope.
The middle ear space just under the ear drum is normally filled with air. If the middle ear is filled with fluid instead of air, hearing is muffled or garbled. This is what happens with ear infections.
Tympanic membrane perforations (TMPs) can result from chronic infection, trauma, or medical care. Perforations usually are temporary, but if they persists can be repaired with surgery.
A mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure designed to remove infection or growths in the bone behind the ear (mastoid bone), often at the time of doing a tympanoplasty. Its purpose is to create a “safe” ear free of infection and prevent further damage to the hearing apparatus.
Dizziness and Motion Sickness
Dizziness, vertigo, and motion sickness all relate to the sense of balance and equilibrium. Disorders of the inner ear can cause dizziness or vertigo, or it can be a problem occurring along the nerve of hearing
or in higher pathways in the brain. Problems with vision and with nerves or muscles of the extremities can all affect balance.
Exercises for Dizziness
Balance exercises are designed to help either restore normal inner ear balance function, or in the case of an injury to the balance system to help the brain compensate for the injury.