What Are Ear Disorders?
The basic underlying problem causing most forms of otitis is eustacian tube dysfunction. Most otitis occurs in patients whose eustacian tube, the tube between the nose and the middle ear (the area behind the eardrum), does not work properly. When air cannot adequately get through this tube to the middle ear,the negative pressure created can “suck” fluid out of the lining of the middle ear/mastoid, filling the middle ear and mastoid air cells with fluid. A mild hearing loss usually accompanies the fluid. The hearing loss disappears when the fluid is gone as long as there are no other causes for the hearing loss.
Cholesteatoma is skin cells that grow in the wrong places in the middle ear and mastoid. Less commonly, it can invade the inner ear, brain, or any other structure of the ear area/brain. As the skin mass expands, it can destroy anything in its path. Infection often accompanies a cholesteatoma. The ossicles (ear bones) are often destroyed by even the smallest cholesteatoma. These masses are not cancerous but must be removed to prevent the ear from being severely damaged.
Otosclerosis is a kind of ear disease in which the otic capsule, the hard and “different” bone that is present only around the inner ear, is replaced in patches by soft bone at random locations around the inner ear. When this soft bone starts growing at the edge of the stapes footplate, the stapes bone cannot move like it should and sound is not passed properly from the middle ear to the inner ear, creating a conductive hearing loss. This is often repairable. When otosclerotic bone replaces bone in other parts of the otic capsule, a sensorineural hearing loss can result. The nerve hearing loss cannot be repaired surgically.
Menière’s disease is caused by an imbalance in the fluid in the sacs in the inner ear. When the sacs of the endolymphatic system of the inner balloon within the inner ear, a sudden hearing loss, vertigo, ringing (tinnitus), and/or pressure in the ear occur. This disease is episodic (by definition) and erratic in its progression. If left to its natural course, it may progress to total deafness in the affected ear. At that point, the episodes of vertigo and the tinnitus may spontaneously subside.
An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor of the balance nerve between the inner ear and the brain. It grows veryslowly. It can cause vertigo (dizziness), hearing loss, and loss of function of the facial nerve. It causes its damage by local enlargement with destruction of the structures it presses against. It is especially noted for creating a loss in understanding ability (discrimination) of the ear that is significantly worse than the actual hearing loss. When hearing loss is not equal between the two ears (unless there is a known reason for this), an acoustic neuroma should be suspected. An MRI scan enhanced with gadolinium is the test most often used to diagnose an acoustic neuroma. If diagnosed when tiny, it may be observed or removed surgically depending on its size at the time of diagnosis and the age of thepatient. Larger tumors should generally be removed surgically. This is generally done by a neurotologist with or without the assistance of a neurosurgeon
Symptoms And Causes For Ear Disorders
Ear symptoms vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Typical ear symptoms include:
- Burning sensation in the ear
- Drainage of pus and blood from the ear canal followed by pain relief, which indicates that the eardrum has ruptured
- Ear pain or discomfort
- Feeling of fullness in the ear
- Hearing loss
- Hearing unusual sounds such as ringing
- Itching in the ear
- Low-set ears (caused by genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome and Turner’s syndrome)
- Spot, sore or growth on the skin of the outer ear or ear canal
- Tugging or rubbing at the ear in infants and young children
Causes of Ear Disorders
A small tube connects your ear to your throat. These two tubes are called Eustachian tubes (say “yoo-STAY-shee-un”). A cold can cause this tube to swell. When the tube swells enough to become blocked, it can trap fluid inside your ear. This makes it a perfect place for germs to grow and cause an infection.
Ear infections happen mostly to young children, because their tubes are smaller and get blocked more easily.
Ayurveda And Ear Disorders
Ayurveda medicinal plants that benefit nervous system. Ayurveda medicinal plants are useful in the restoration of consciousness, lack or sleep or acting as hypnotic plants, sleepiness or drowsiness, painful conditions acting as analgesic or anodyne, fits acting as anti-convulsant. These are good for our senses – beneficial for vision, and as mydriatics, myotics and as relieving many of ear disorders.
Ayurveda has given the name “Pitikarna” to all ear ailments. The disorders occur due to the vitiation of kapha dosha. The cold season and common colds during the winter and are associated with ear infection. When the infection is detected in children, it should be treated without delay, as it can damage to their hearing permanently.