Keeping your ears in check can sometimes be difficult without a visit to the doctor, but often any treatments you may require can benefit from a bit of self-assessment before seeing an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT). If you feel pain or discomfort within the internal regions of the ear then this can often be a pretty clear sign that you might have something unpleasant like an infection or disease within the inner canal.
This article will cover the following:
1. The Point Where Hearing Surgery May Become Necessary
While it may be quite daunting to think about, surgery is sometimes a necessity if you are diagnosed with a potentially damaging infection or disease that puts your future health at risk. Thankfully, middle ear surgery really isn’t the end of the world and trying to avoid it will only do more harm than good.
The point at which it becomes necessary to go for surgery is usually when an ENT, also known as an otolaryngologist, diagnoses you with a particular condition following chronic ear infection, discomfort and/or extreme and rapid hearing loss. The doctor will talk you through the specifics of the procedure and you will be given time to prepare for the surgery, although it is also important to get the ear back to full health as quickly as possible to avoid irreversible damage to your hearing.
Any worries you may have about the specifics of the procedure can be talked through with an inner ear surgery specialist who will be happy to provide you with information about the exact treatment you will be going through.
2. The Diseases that are most likely to Require Surgical Treatment
Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) is a condition that causes quite severe hearing loss which can also lead to dizziness and immune system failure within the inner ear. ENT surgery can be used to prevent infection, tinnitus, and complete hearing loss in the case of this debilitating illness.
Meniere’s disease is another condition that can require surgical intervention. Symptoms for this condition include nausea, headaches, loss of balance, and vertigo. It is commonly diagnosed through a simple hearing test and can subside with medication. Surgery is needed however for those who experience extreme bouts of vertigo.
Chronic ear disease, or Cholesteatoma, is an abnormal collection of cells that leads to constant ear infections and drainage. The damage it causes to the inner ear, particularly the ear drum, means that surgery is commonly required for suffers.
Microtia is the name given to an ear condition which causes damage to the auricle, or the outer region of the ear, and leads to a narrowing of the external canal. Microtia surgery is required to repair the damage caused by this illness.
3. Types of Inner Ear Surgery
Common types of hearing surgery include:
- Meatoplasty/Canalplasty to prevent blockage and to widen the ear canal following mastoid surgery.
- Myringoplasty to repair a damaged ear drum.
- Ossiculoplasty to repair small bones in the ear such as the cochlea, incus, or stapes.
- Tympanoplasty to improve the condition of the hearing mechanism within the middle ear. This can also involve work on a damaged eardrum and bone repair.
- Eustachian tuboplasty to repair and improve the Eustachian tubes.
- Stapedectomy to overcome hearing loss, a procedure with involves replacing one of the bones in the middle ear with an artificial piece.
- Myringotomy to drain fluid that has built up inside the ear and caused infection.
4. Post-surgery Information
Most patients notice a dramatic improvement in the quality of their hearing almost immediately after inner ear surgery. It will take time to make a full recovery though and some bleeding or discomfort can be expected in the first week. It is therefore advised that you stay indoors for this period.
Often, around the two week mark, hearing can become very sensitive. Bleeding will generally begin to subside, however, and comfort within the ear will improve. After this time if you still experience any dizziness or pre-surgery symptoms then you should contact your doctor immediately.
If you feel like you are suffering from one of the outlined conditions then ENT Surgery might seem like the last thing you want to put yourself through. It should be kept in mind though that the severity of particular inner ear problems often create more discomfort than the aftermath of hearing surgery, and the outcome is very appealing for long-time suffers.
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