Our ears do more than just give us the ability to hear, they also help us maintain balance. They are complex structures with many different components, but usually the parts of the ear are divided into three sections depending on their function: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The outer ear is constructed of the pinna or auricle, which describes the cartilage and skin that surrounds the auditory canal. The eardrum, ossicles, and Eustachian tubes make up the middle ear and convert auditory vibrations into recognizable sound. The inner ear is made up of the organ of hearing, or the cochlea, as well as other receptors that help us maintain balance.
In the United States, one in fifteen adults over the age of 18 report that they experience some degree of hearing loss, while nearly three of every 1,000 children are born with a detectable level of hearing loss. Otolaryngologists are specifically trained in the delicate structures of both the inner and outer ears and know how to treat ear disorders, whether medically or surgically. At the Acadian ENT Center, the ear issues we typically treat are:
- Hearing Loss
- Balance Disorder
- Middle Ear Disorder
- Persistent Ear Noise (Tinnitus)
- Diseases or Infections of the Ear
- Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
- Bone Anchored Hearing Aid
- Cochlear Implants
All the parts of the ear are susceptible to trauma and infection, which may result in damage to these delicate tissues and bones that can impact your ability to hear. For example, malformed cartilage at the pinna can block sounds from entering the auditory canal and abnormal ossicles can prevent the vibrations from passing to the inner ear. In the long run, ear conditions can cause discomfort, dizziness or balance issues, and/or hearing loss. These consequences make proper management of ear diseases critical for optimal health and quality of life.
There are many conditions that can affect our ears, including acoustic neuroma, cholesteatoma, Meniere’s disease, tinnitus, swimmer’s ear/otitis externa, ear infection/otitis media, otosclerosis, and more. If surgical intervention is required, our otologic surgeons are leaders in the field, with extensive experience handling both simple and complex procedures.We offer comprehensive diagnostics and treatment for a wide range of ear conditions to help our patients preserve their hearing, improve their balance, and enhance their health overall.
If you or someone you know is experiencing hearing issues, don’t wait to seek treatment – call us today. Most ear conditions are treatable in the early stages and can prevent irreversible hearing loss or deafness.
Acadian Ear, Nose, & Throat Center is one of the few providers in the region that offers cochlear implants and other implantable hearing devices. We provide full spectrum hearing services with our in-house audiology center, making visits to your hearing specialist easier than ever before. Contact the Acadian Ear, Nose, & Throat Center at (337) 237-0650.
Hearing loss is one of the biggest health concerns in the U.S. It is the third most reported physical condition, following arthritis and heart disease. It affects roughly 20 percent of the American population and can strike people of all ages. The most common causes of hearing loss are noise exposure and aging.
Hearing loss is a progressive condition that worsens over time. Symptoms appear so gradually, you may be completely unaware of your affliction for some time; even when hearing loss is suspected, it takes an average of seven years for a person to seek medical treatment. Hearing loss can contribute to early onset dementia or cognitive dysfunction, so knowing the signs is helpful.
Otitis Media is inflammation of the middle ear. It occurs in the area between the tympanic membrane (the end of the outer ear) and the inner ear. It also includes a duct known as the eustachian tube.
Types Of Otitis Media
Acute otitis media occurs when pus and pressure build up in the middle ear. Hearing loss is present, but normally goes away when the infection clears. Acute otitis media is usually sudden in onset and is often associated with sudden obstruction of the eustachian tube at the same time infections bacteria are present. It is also associated with a perforated eardrum, sometimes with drainage from the ear. Often the eardrum will heal over after the infection clears, but the hole can remain and damage to the middle ear and/or inner ear can accompany the infection. The eardrum may be bright red, and the creamy color of the fluid can sometimes be seen through the eardrum. It sometimes looks “soggy.”
Serous otitis is where clear fluid fills the middle ear and mastoid. It occurs with sudden obstructions of the eustachian tube. Two of the most common causes are a bad cold or a sudden descent of an airplane with poor pressurization.
Secretory otitis is where somewhat thicker fluid fills the middle ear and mastoid. It is most common in small children and often outgrown by the time they reach their teens. The thick fluid has components that are secreted by the mucous glands of the middle ear. There are tissue breakdown enzymes in this fluid that can gradually eat away bone and cause chronic hearing loss/damage.
Chronic otitis media occurs when chronic infection fills the middle ear space and mastoid cavity. Most cases are almost always a form of chronic mastoiditis, where the bone of the mastoid cavity is chronically infected along with the tissues of the middle ear space.
EUSTACHIAN TUBE DYSFUNCTION
We’ve all probably experienced a feeling of fullness in the ear when your hearing seems muffled or there’s pressure behind your ear drum. Luckily, these symptoms usually subside on their own within a few days.
For some people, the condition can be persistent and seemingly never resolve. Eustachian tube dysfunction occurs when the tubes that connect the middle ear to the back of the nose become blocked, which can cause hearing and balance issues.
What are eustachian tubes?
The eustachian tubes are hollow canals that connect the middle ear to the back of the throat, helping to regulate pressure and drain fluids from inside the ears. These tubes stay closed to protect the middle and inner ear from bacteria and viruses, but they open during certain functions.
When we chew, swallow, or yawn, the tubes open with a slight popping sensation to help equalize air pressure between the ear and the outside environment. They are located behind the ear drum and extend to the back of the nasal cavity.
Swimmer’s ear is inflammation or infection of the ear canal. It occurs when the protective film that covers the ear canal is removed. Symptoms of swimmer’s ear include itching, pain, and a feeling of fullness in the ear with persistent redness and swelling.
- Very narrow or hairy ear canal
- Live in a warm and humid climate
- Impacted earwax
- Head injury had also injured your ear
- Previous cases of swimmer’s ear
Causes of Swimmer’s Ear
Most common cause of swimmer’s ear is when water, sand, dirt, or other debris gets lodged into the ear canal. Other causes of inflammation and infection include:
- Bubble baths, soaps, and shampoos
- Cleaning the ear canal harshly or with a sharp object
- Headphones inserted into the ear
- Skin problems
Tinnitus, often described as a ringing in the ears, affects approximately one in five Americans. This perception of sound may affect one or both ears, and can range from a minor nuisance to a constant distraction.
Tinnitus is considered a symptom rather than a disease and is usually the result of an underlying condition. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to relieve the noise and improve your quality of life. The audiologists at Acadian Hearing and Balance Center are here to help.
What to Expect During a Tinnitus Evaluation
There are several goals we hope to accomplish when we evaluate a tinnitus patient:
• Identify the underlying cause of your tinnitus symptoms.
• Determine if your tinnitus is subjective or objective.
• Evaluate how your tinnitus is affecting your speech reception.
• Assess whether you’re experiencing hyperacusis (sound sensitivity).
• Pinpoint the frequency and loudness of the sound you’re hearing.
PERFORATED EAR DRUM
The tympanic membrane, also known as the eardrum, separates the outer ear canal from the middle ear. This thin tissue receives sound wave vibrations from the external ear canal that it sends to the ossicles, or the tiny vibrating bones within the middle ear. It also protects your middle and inner ear from pathogens and water intrusion.
The eardrum is extremely delicate, and these small internal structures are susceptible to damage that can result in hearing problems. The most common cause of tympanic membrane perforation is an ear infection, also called otitis media. Ear infections cause pressure build-up in the middle ear, which exerts force on the eardrum. When the pressure becomes too great, the eardrum will rupture or perforate. If you’ve had ear pain related to an ear infection and experience a popping noise followed by fluid or pus drainage, it’s likely that you have a perforated eardrum.
Otosclerosis is a condition where there is an overgrowth of bone in the space behind the eardrum and the inner ear. Symptoms include tinnitus, dizziness, and some hearing loss, with severe hearing loss developing as the middle and inner ear become less functional.
Types Of Otosclerosis
- When the overgrowth develops 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. This causes conductive hearing loss and can often be repaired.
- When the overgrowth replaces bone in other parts of the otic capsule, a sensorineural hearing loss result. If this happens, talk to your doctor about alternative treatment options, including hearing aids and cochlear implantation.
Cholesteatoma is a destructive and expanding growth that consists of skin cells in the wrong places of the middle ear and mastoid. If left untreated, it can eat into the three small bones in the middle ear and cause permanent hearing loss.
Cholesteatoma can also affect and erode the thin bone structure that isolates the top of the ear from the brain, as well as lay the covering of the brain open to infections. Common symptoms include hearing loss, discharge from the ear with a strong odor, bleeding from the ear, dizziness, vertigo, balance disruption, earache, headaches, and tinnitus.
Types of Cholesteatoma
Acquired cholesteatoma is the most common type, and it can be caused by a tear or retraction of the eardrum. Acquired cholesteatomas usually arise from the pars flaccida region of the ear in the posterior-superior area of the eardrum.
Congential cholesteatoma is less common. They are most often found in the anterior area of the eardrum and are often diagnosed early in life. People with congenital cholesteatoma are born with this condition.
Meniere’s disease is a vestibular disorder that produces a recurring set of symptoms as a result of abnormally large amounts of a fluid, called endolymph, collecting in the inner ear.
The prevalence of Meniere’s disease is difficult to assess. One population study found that 15.3 per 100,000 individuals develop Meniere’s disease annually. Of these, one-third eventually develop the disease in the second ear as well.
The exact cause of Meniere’s disease is not known. Theories include circulation problems, viral infection, allergies, an autoimmune reaction, migraine, and the possibility of a genetic connection. Experts also aren’t sure what generates the symptoms of an acute attack. Some people with Meniere’s disease find that certain triggers can set off attacks, including stress, overwork, fatigue, emotional distress, additional illnesses, pressure changes, certain foods, and too much salt in the diet.
Attacks can last from 20 minutes to 24 hours. They can occur many times per week; or they can be separated by weeks, months, and even years. The unpredictable nature of this disease makes it difficult to tell how it will affect a person’s future. Symptoms can disappear one day and never return, or they might become so severe that they are debilitating.
BONE ANCHORED HEARING AID
Hearing loss affects millions of Americans every year, but only 20% ever seek treatment. Most people don’t realize that their hearing is fading until it has significantly deteriorated, as most hearing-related conditions occur slowly over time.
If you’ve been experiencing hearing loss or traditional hearing aids haven’t helped your condition, there are solutions to restore one of your most important senses! The bone-anchored hearing aid, also known as BAHA, is a surgically implanted device that can improve hearing function for patients with different kinds of hearing loss.
A bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is an external auditory implant that assists our natural sound processing ability through bone conduction. The device is made of three parts: the implant, an external support, and a sound processor. It sidesteps the ear canal, sending sound vibrations directly to the bone and stimulating the vestibulocochlear nerve for clear hearing.
For people with severe hearing loss, everyday tasks can be a struggle. Watching TV, talking on the phone, or even having a face-to-face conversation can be difficult, and people with hearing loss are proven to be more likely to suffer depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues as a result.
If you suffer from inner ear damage or other hearing-loss-related conditions, you may be eligible to receive a cochlear implant to help improve your quality of life and change the way you hear the world around you.
What is a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant is a device that sends sound signals directly to the cochlea, or organ of hearing. Unlike traditional hearing aids, cochlear implants do not simply amplify sound, but they also help to improve one’s ability to understand words.
What to Expect on Your First Visit
Our resource center provides support to our patients and offers helpful information to make your experience as pleasant as possible. We have a number of patient information forms available for download, as well as pre- and post-operative surgery instructions, insurance providers and a list of frequently asked questions. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Give us a call and we’ll help you out.
This place is amazing! I’ve been a patient there for years. Now that I have a child, he is a patient too. When we had his tubes put in, I was nervous just like any parent would be. The entire staff is great, always so friendly and accommodating. If you are looking for an ENT, look no further than Acadian ENT. You won’t be disappointed!
Recently I had to visit an ENT for the very first time. I had no idea what to expect and very little understanding of what my issues were. Everyone at Acadian ENT were absolutely a delight to work with. They were caring, professional and pleasant from the moment we walked in the door. Each person that we interacted with explained my symptoms & treatment thoroughly and with a smile. I can’t recommend this place enough. 10 stars!
The office facility is always bright and comfortable. The nurses, staff, practitioners, and doctors are very knowledgeable and courteous when explaining my health issues and insurance coverages. Great office of professionals.
Every time I have an appointment here, they are Friendly, Professional, and go beyond trying to make you feel comfortable. But best of all they are absolutely the BEST!!!
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