EAR, CAULIFLOWER
EAR, EXAMINATION OF
To determine the cause of earache, the
ear is inspected (see
ear, examination
of). Analgesic drugs
may relieve the
pain, and
antibiotic drugs
may be given
for infection. Pus in the outer ear may
be removed by suction. Pus in the mid-
dle ear may be drained by
myringotomy
.
ear, cauliflower
See
cauliflower ear.
ear, discharge from
An emission of
fluid from the ear, also called
otorrhoea.
It may be due to outer-ear infection (see
otitis externa
). It may also follow perfo-
ration of the eardrum (see
eardrum,
perforated
), usually due to middle-ear
infection (see
otitis media
). Rarely, after
a
skull fracture
,
cerebrospinal fluid
or
blood may be discharged.
A swab may be taken of the discharge
and analysed to identify any infection.
Hearing tests
may be performed.
X-rays
of the skull are taken if there has been a
head injury
or serious middle-ear infec-
tion is suspected. Treatment usually
includes
antibiotic drugs.
ear, disorders of
The
ear
is suscepti-
ble to various disorders, some of which
can lead to
deafness
. In rare cases, the
ear canal,
ossicles
in the middle ear, or
pinna
are absent or deformed at birth.
Rubella
in early pregnancy can damage
the baby's developing ear, leading to
deafness. Most cases of congenital
sen-
sorineural deafness
are genetic.
Infection is the most common cause
of ear disorders; it may occur in the ear
canal, leading to
otitis externa
, or affect
the middle ear, causing
otitis media.
This can lead to perforation of the
eardrum (see
eardrum, perforated
). Per-
sistent
glue ear
, often due to infection,
is the most common cause of childhood
hearing difficulties. Viral infection of the
inner ear may cause
labyrinthitis.
Cauliflower ear
is the result of one
large or several small injuries to the
pinna. Perforation of the eardrum can
result from poking objects into the ear
or loud noise. Prolonged exposure to
loud noise can cause
tinnitus
and/or
deafness. Pressure changes associated
with flying or scuba diving can also
cause minor damage (see
barotrauma
).
Tumours of the ear are rare.
Acoustic
neuroma
is a noncancerous tumour of
the
acoustic nerve
that may press on
structures in the ear to cause deafness,
tinnitus, and problems with balance.
In cholesteatoma
, skin cells and debris
collect in the middle ear. Obstruction of
the ear canal is most often the result of
earwax
, although in small children, an
object may have been pushed into the
ear (see
ear, foreign body in
).
In
otosclerosis
, a hereditary condition,
a bone in the middle ear becomes fixed,
causing deafness.
Meniere's disease
is
an uncommon condition in which deaf-
ness,
vertigo
,
and tinnitus result from
the accumulation of fluid in the inner
ear. Deafness in many elderly people is
due to
presbyacusis
,
in which hair cells
in the
cochlea
deteriorate.
Certain drugs, such as
aminoglycoside
drugs
and some
diuretic drugs,
can
damage ear function.
eardrum
The circular membrane that
separates the outer
ear
from the middle
ear. The eardrum vibrates in response to
sound waves, conducting the sound to the
inner ear through the
ossicles
.
eardrum, perforated
Rupture or ero-
sion of the
eardrum
. Perforation of the
eardrum can cause brief, intense pain.
There may be slight bleeding, a dis-
charge from the ear (see
ear, discharge
from
), and some reduction in hearing.
Most commonly, perforation occurs as
a result of the build-up of pus in the
middle ear due to acute
otitis media
.
Perforation may also be associated with
cholesteatoma
. Another cause is injury,
for example from insertion of an object
into the ear, a loud noise,
barotrauma
,
or a fracture to the base of the skull.
Diagnosis is confirmed by examina-
tion of the ear (see
ear, examination of
).
Hearing tests
may also be performed.
Analgesic drugs
may relieve any pain
and
antibiotic drugs
may be prescribed
to treat or prevent infection. Most per-
forations heal quickly. If the perforation
has failed to heal after
6
months,
myringoplasty
may be needed.
ear, examination of
The ear may be
examined to investigate
earache
, dis-
charge from the ear (see
ear, discharge
from
), hearing loss, a feeling of fullness
in the ear, disturbed
balance
,
tinnitus
, or
swelling of lymph nodes (see
glands,
swollen
) around the ear.
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