Actualidad y consejos sobre salud auditiva / News and tips on hearing health

Types of ear diseases

The ear is one if the body’s most advanced and sensitive organs. When it is damaged or has been affected by something, it warns us that there is something wrong with our auditory system.

What is the ear? 

The ear, also known as the vestibulocochlear organ, is the sensory system comprised of the organs that maintain balance and hearing needed to perceive noises around us. It is divided into three parts:

  1. The external ear: formed by the pinna and the external auditory canal, which receives sounds and directs them to the middle ear.
  2. The middle ear: formed by the tympanic cavity and membrane, the auditory ossicles, the mastoid antrum and air cells and the Eustachian tube.
  3. The inner ear: located inside the temporal bone, it is divided into the bony labyrinth and the membranous labyrinth. Its main function is to transport the electric impulses received to the brain in the form of sound.

Photo credit: hearing link

However, if this information is not sent to the brain in optimal conditions, we may begin to present discomfort or the symptoms of a disorder in our ears.

Below is an explanation of the main ear diseases that can impact normal hearing ability.

The most common ear disorders

Photo credit: 2anews

  • Otitis media: an inflammation of the inner ear caused by a bacteria or virus that causes fluid to accumulate behind the eardrum. It is not serious if treated correctly and does not return repeatedly.
  • Otosclerosis: the abnormal growth of the small bones in the middle ear. It is one of the most common causes of gradual hearing loss in adults, but hearing can be recovered with surgery.
  • Tinnitus: a sensation of noise in the head, such as a constant ringing or buzzing. There is currently no scientific treatment or cure for this condition.
  • Ménière’s disease: a chronic condition that affects the balance and hearing parts of the inner ear. Symptoms include vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus and a feeling of pressure or “fullness” in the ear. Medication can be prescribed to help alleviate the symptoms. Another option is the Meniett device which is placed in the outer ear and generates micropressure impulses to balance the pressure of the fluid in the inner ear.
  • Presbycusis: this is age-related hearing loss, the gradual loss of hearing in adults as they grow older. It is usually bilateral and symmetrical, meaning it occurs at the same rate simultaneously in both ears.
  • Barotrauma: this is the term for physical damage to the ear caused by changes in barometric (air) or water pressure.
  • Acoustic trauma: this is damage caused to the ear by a sudden, loud noise such as explosions, loud machinery or music concerts. The impact and effects of the damage need to be assessed and monitored over the medium and long term.
  • Hearing loss, impairment or anacusis (deafness): the difficulty to hear due to partial, unilateral, bilateral or total hearing loss. It may be hereditary or the consequence of an illness, traumatism, long-term exposure to noise or aggressive medication for the auditory nerve. Hearing aids or cochlear implants can be used to correct hearing impairment.

Less common ear disorders

  • Exostosis: this is an abnormal bone growth that appears within the ear canal. It is also known as “Surfer’s ear” as it can be caused by exposure to cold wind and water. If it grows in size, surgery may be necessary.
  • Usher syndrome or Retinitis pigmentosa: a rare genetic condition that affects both the sight and hearing.
  • Acoustic neuroma: a benign, slow-growing tumour on the vestibular nerve in the inner ear close to the brain. Treatment includes surgical removal or radiation.
  • Vestibular neuritis: this condition stems from the inflammation of the vestibular nerve in the inner ear, causing vertigo and nausea.
  • Perichondritis: an infection of the skin and tissue covering the cartilage of the external part of the ear. It can cause redness, pain and fever.

If you would like to know more about ear diseases and disorders, post a comment below and we will send you more detailed information.

Remember: if you have any of the symptoms listed above, see your doctor or an ENT specialist.

28 Comments

  1. Taylor Bishop

    Thanks for the interesting article about ear diseases. I had no idea that barotrauma was damaged caused by changed in air or water pressure. I’m interested to learn if this damage is more common to pilots or swimmers and what they can do to protect against it.

  2. Harry

    An insightful post! Didn’t realized that ear diseases could be quite detrimental to overall health. Usher syndrome, for instance, made me realized that.

    • kiversal

      Thanks for your comment! Greetings Harry 🙂

  3. benson

    prevalence of otitis media in children and the percentage that gets paramanent ear damage or hearing loss,in africa

  4. Poonam

    Thank you so much for this interesting article but l would loved to know more about ear disorders.
    So l hope the new article will come soon

    • kiversal

      We write down your suggestion. Thank you, Poonam

  5. Humble Jones

    Hello, thanks for the information. I have a problem with my ear, and I don’t know what it could. There is something that keeps growing inside and it partially blocks it.
    When it starts growing, I feel some pain, and after some three days it starts forming some fluid and when it reaches that point, it feels easy for me to remove, and when i remove, it looks like a seed cort but inside is somehow hair, and outside it, is where the fluid forms.
    It keeps forming like that for about a week and it disappears, then after some 2 to 3 weeks, it comes back again.
    Please help me.

    • kiversal

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us. We recommend you to go to a specialist who can diagnose your case more specifically. Kind regards.

  6. Habibu Muhammad

    Thanks u very much. I highly appreciate this knowledge

  7. Hearing aids

    Thank you very much for information really appreciated…

  8. Wilfred Mose

    Which disease one may occur when purse getting out from the ear

  9. Mubarak Usman

    What a pleasant, thank you very much

  10. Joyce Blessed

    Wow! Never knew about all these types of ear infections., Just knowing what the one that disturbs me is called now. Thanks for this. It’s pretty cool!

  11. Adeniyi

    Interesting post

  12. Adeniyi

    Interesting and educative post

    • kiversal

      Thank you for your comment. Best regards.

  13. Girlie

    Is deafness a disease of the ear?

  14. Jaipur Doorbeen Hospital

    Hello,
    This blog is very amazing!
    For more info then consult me.

    • kiversal

      Thank you for your comment, Jaipur. Best regards.

  15. Associated Ear, Nose & Throat

    It’s very important to have knowledge of ear diseases. Thanks for sharing.

    • kiversal

      Thank you for your comment. Best regards.

  16. Dr.betterstill

    I love these write up and I hope to get more about the disorder of the outer ear

    • kiversal

      Thank you for your comment. Best regards.

  17. Jaipur Doorbeen Hospital

    Hello, this blog is very useful for Health!
    Thanks for giving this information.

    • kiversal

      Thank you for your comment, Jaipur!

  18. Coastal Ear, Nose and Throat

    Great piece of writing with immensely informative contents! I really liked the writing style and the whole process of the story building. Waiting for more posts! Cheers!!

    • kiversal

      Thank you for your comment!

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