Ears—they sure are funny looking, as the mouse once said to Dumbo.  We never really think about our ears unless they are in excruciating pain.  After all, we don’t really think about how we hear, nor do we feel our ears in action.  Nonetheless, when something does go wrong and an ear problem occurs, it can cause quite the panic.  And all the more so if your child is in pain! 

Common Problems with the Ear

It may help to consider the most commonly occurring ear problems.  Before we review these conditions, first understand that there are three parts to an ear: outer ear, middle ear and inner ear.  Whenever there is an obstruction or interference with the process the pain can be intense and the other issues (involving balance and perception) can be scary. 

The most common problem affecting ears is that of a viral infection.  Some viruses can even cause hearing loss, namely, mumps, chickenpox, influenza and measles.  These infections start off in the bloodstream and eventually reach the ears, where they will damage nerve endings.  Infections often affect the middle ear and will result in the clogging of the ear with mucus and ear fluid—this will directly influence hearing and influence balance for the worst. 

The good news is that most ear infections will go away naturally, though the pain will be intense.  It is best to see a doctor so that you can rule out serious conditions and perhaps bring home a pain reliever to the young one.  At worst, a serious infection may require antibiotics, or in some cases, minor surgery.  

Critical Conditions

It is better to consult a doctor so that you can eliminate critical conditions such as Labyrinthitis, which is inner ear inflammation, and directly related to respiratory sickness and or bacterial infection.  Antibiotics may be necessary if bacterial infection has occurred.  Acoustic neuroma refers to a non-cancerous tumor that can be dangerous (benign though it is) since it can put a great deal of pressure on your brain.

One of the final inner ear problems is Meniere's disease, which is an inner ear disorder that affects balance and hearing.  This condition can occur suddenly, and in no particular pattern; perhaps once a year or every day.  The main symptoms are dizziness, nausea, and hearing loss.

Presbycusis is a unique problem because of its demographic; it is mainly a condition endured by seniors who are experiencing gradual hearing loss over time.  This results because hair cells in your cochlea are dying off.  These cells are directly responsible for processing sounds.  In addition, nerves that are responsible for sending messages to the brain will become slower as age sets in. 

Presbycusis is the most likely cause of a relative’s poor hearing condition, and can be treated by using cochlear implants, hearing aids, as well as natural strategy in order to hear to a greater degree.  Most hearing difficulty results because of a lot of background noise, and not looking directly at the person who is speaking.  It is important to note that Presbycusis is not a surgically treatable condition at this time. 

Last but not least, don’t forget balance problems, with symptoms of lightheadedness, dizziness or even room spinning.  These symptoms could be indicative of an inner ear disorder or even point to a more serious problem, such as a head injury, a stroke or a blood circulation issue.

The best thing to do is to ask an ENT doctor about your issues and come in for a regular routine checkup.  This can ensure that you treat problems as soon or before they occur, and that you get the medical attention you need immediately upon diagnosis.