Ear specialist is the doctor that specialises in the diseases of the ear.
Ear is the sensory organ for hearing and balance. It has three parts:
- External ear – pinna, ear canal and the outer surface of the eardrum
- Middle ear – the inner surface of the eardrum, small bones of the ear – Malleus, Incus and Stapes, 2 muscles and opening of Eustachian tube
- Inner ear– Utricle, saccule, semicircular canals and cochlea
All age groups experience different diseases of the ear. A wide variety of symptoms can occur in these. The symptoms depend on the location of the disease. I list symptoms affecting the ear below:
- Ear ache
- Hearing loss
- Ear block
- Ringing sensation in the ear
- Discharge from the ear
Among the listed symptoms, the most distressing symptom is pain. It is commonly experienced in children. We need an ear specialist to make the correct diagnosis.
Most diseases of the ear can be diagnosed via history and physical examination. However, imaging such as CT or MRI scan may be required for additional information and treatment planning.
Some diseases of the ear are listed below, with common presenting symptoms:
- Otitis externa: pain and discharge
- Otomycosis: Fungal infection of the ear: itching
- Hematoma of the pinna after trauma, pain and swelling
- Perichondritis: Inflammation of the ear cartilage: pain, swelling and redness
- Impacted wax in the ear canal: hearing loss, ear block and pain
- Foreign bodies in the ear canal: ear block or hearing loss with or without pain
- Traumatic perforation of the ear: a history of ear trauma, pain and acute hearing loss
- Acute otitis media: severe ear pain, with or without fever
- Chronic otitis media: ear discharge and hearing loss
- Otitis media with effusion: hearing loss and hearing one’s own voice
- Cholesteatoma: blood-stained ear discharge, hearing loss
- Otosclerosis: hearing loss
- Meniere’s disease: recurrent episodes of vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss
Management of these conditions depends on making an accurate diagnosis.