Your ear is a complicated organ that enables you to interact with your surroundings. If an issue arises with any part of the ear you can easily become disconnected. The staff at David & Eldredge is experienced at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of ear disorders and conditions.
If you are experiencing any ear pain or discomfort, contact us at 337-266-9820 to schedule an appointment.
Tinnitus is the perception of sound within the ear. It is usually described as a ringing noise, but can also sound like hissing, roaring, whooshing, clicking, chirping, whistling or buzzing. It varies in pitch and volume, may occur in one or both ears and can be an occasional nuisance or a constant irritation. Tinnitus can be caused by a number of conditions including hearing loss caused by noise exposure. In order to treat tinnitus, the underlying condition responsible for your symptoms should be identified. When the condition causing your tinnitus is unknown or untreatable, noise suppression techniques are often recommended.
Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a naturally occurring substance produced by the ear. Earwax works to protect the ear by trapping dust and debris and preventing it from entering the canal. Earwax typically dries up and falls out of the ear without you even noticing. Using a cotton swab to clean the ear can cause the earwax to become blocked or impacted. Impacted earwax can lead to a decrease in hearing, ear pain and itching. To remove the earwax blockage, your doctor may use a small plastic spoon, called a curette, or irrigate the ear with warm water. Once the earwax is removed your doctor may recommend the use of over-the-counter wax softening drops to prevent a buildup in the future.
Swimmer’s ear is an infection in the outer ear canal. This infection is caused by bacteria, which is often left in the ear after spending time in water. Itching, redness and discomfort are all signs of swimmer’s ear. If left untreated, this infection can cause hearing loss or deep tissue infection, which can affect the bone and cartilage. Eardrops containing an acidic solution, steroids, antibiotics or antifungal medication will typically be prescribed by your doctor to treat the infection. In addition, the ear canal will be thoroughly cleaned to ensure the eardrops are able to reach the infected area.
Ear tubes are used as a treatment for children who are prone to middle ear infections or fluid buildup. Many children suffer from occasional ear infections, but those who do not find standard treatments beneficial may require this procedure, as chronic infections can lead to hearing loss, which can then lead to poor school performance or behavior and speech problems. The simple procedure involves making a small hole in the eardrum; tiny cylinders are then inserted through the hole. This allows air to flow into the middle ear. Ear tubes come in two styles; short-term tubes, which fall out of the ear on their own after a few months, and long-term tubes, which have to be removed by a doctor.
Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes of vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss and a sensation of fullness within the ear. While the cause of this disease is unknown, many researchers believe an abnormal amount of fluid within the inner ear is to blame. Your doctor will perform a hearing and balance assessment to confirm the diagnosis. There is no cure for this condition but there are treatments available to control the symptoms. Medications may be prescribed for the vertigo and the tinnitus. Lifestyle changes such as reducing salt intake and managing stress may also decrease symptom severity. Occassionaly surgery may be employed to relieve symptoms and wearing hearing aids may be recommended to help with the hearing loss and control the tinnitus.
Otosclerosis is the abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear, which causes hearing loss. The middle ear contains a chain of three bones, which work together to pass sound wave vibrations from the outer ear to the inner ear. A growth on any bone in this chain can impede the hearing process. Otosclerosis is a hereditary disorder, typically passed from parent to child. In addition to hearing loss, many with this disorder also experience dizziness and a ringing in the ears. The most common treatments for this condition are the use of a hearing aid or a stapedotomy, an operation that implants a device to help sound waves bypass the damaged bone.
Bone-Anchored Hearing Devices
A bone-anchored hearing device is a type of hearing device used for those with conductive or unilateral hearing loss. The device consists of three parts: a titanium implant, an external fitting and a sound processor. A short surgical procedure inserts the implant into the skull bone. The sound processor picks up sound vibrations from the environment. The vibrations are then passed through the external fitting to the implant. Since the implant sits in the bone it allows the vibrations to easily travel through the bone to the inner ear. This process allows sounds to bypass the damaged outer or middle ear.