The ear canal’s purpose is to serve as a funnel to collect sounds gathered from the external portion of the ear and carry them to the tympanic membrane, which is commonly called the “eardrum.” Because of this important function, any medical condition that affects the ear canal that isn’t treated in time could lead to either a partial or full loss of hearing. So the following are several common causes of ear canal problems to watch out for:
Otitis externa, which is more commonly referred to as “swimmer’s ear,” happens when the soft lipid layer that lines the ear canal gets damaged by harsh cleaning or small objects being pushed into the ear canal. Swimmer’s ear is common in Pembroke Pines and throughout Florida because of all the pool and ocean swimming. This damage makes it easier for water and debris from a pool or other body of water that a person spends a lot of time in to become trapped in the ear canal. Luckily, this condition can usually be easily treated with ear drops to remove the trapped water and antibiotics.
If an ear infection isn’t treated properly, or a person has a poorly-functioning immune system, malignant external otitis can develop. This condition is very serious because a diagnosis of it means that bacteria from the ear canal has reached the base of the skull.
The fragile bones of the ears can sometimes produce bony overgrowths, which can block the sounds that a person hears from reaching the tympanic membrane. Benign and malignant growths made up of flesh, which are called “tumors,” are also possible. Either way, surgery is often necessary in order to restore a person’s hearing.
The delicate nature of the skin surrounding the ears makes dermatitis highly likely in those who use harsh, chemical-based cleaning agents to wash their hair and skin. It is also possible for anyone who wears jewelry made of cheap metals. Dermatitis is easily treatable by avoiding the products or jewelry that is causing the reaction. An antihistamine may be needed to get the initial symptoms of swelling, itching, flaking, and redness under control though.
If you or a loved one is suffering from ear canal pain or any issue affecting your ears or hearing, feel free to contact Pembroke Pines based ENT Dr. Robert Contrucci.
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