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Ear Conditions and Diagnoses

Ear Conditions and Diagnoses | Advanced ENT Services

Board-certified doctors at WMCHealth Physicians: Advanced ENT Services provide care for an extensive range of ear-related conditions, including tinnitus, ear pain, tumors and infection. Learn more about some of the conditions managed at our 11 practice locations in the Hudson Valley.

Request An Appointment or Refer a Patient | Call 914.693.7636.

We accept most insurances including Medicare and Medicaid; please be sure to ask the practice representative who calls you if we accept your insurance plan. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Providers at Advanced ENT Services provide care for a wide range of ear conditions and diagnoses.

Select a condition below for more information. (Learn more about ear-related surgeries and procedures.)

Aural Atresia

 

Aural atresia is a condition that describes a closed or undeveloped ear canal. Congenital aural atresia is fairly common; it can occur in one or both ears. The condition may be corrected via aural atresia construction surgery (also known as “external ear canal surgery”), typically around the age of five or later.

 

Bell’s Palsy

 

Bell’s palsy (idiopathic acute peripheral facial palsy) causes a temporary weakness in the muscles of the face. The condition can produce pain around the jaw or behind the ear on the affected side, ringing in the ears, headache, impaired speech, and other symptoms in addition to the classic droopiness of the eyelids, face or mouth. The condition is usually caused by a viral infection, but may also be associated with acute or chronic middle ear infections.

 

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Leak from Ear

 

A head injury, brain surgery, chronic ear infections and cholesteatoma sometimes results in a CSF leak into the middle ear. Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid into the ear can result in pulsating noise in the ear (pulsatile tinnitus), hearing loss and increase an individual’s risk for meningitis. ENT physicians at Advanced ENT Services may treat this condition by surgically repairing the dura and tegmen (the bone between the ear and brain); this procedure stops the leak, provides relief from symptoms (such as pressure, pulsatile tinnitus, and hearing loss), and reduces risk for life-threatening infection.

 

Cholesteatoma (Skin Growth)

 

A cholesteatoma is a growth of skin into the middle ear and mastoid that gradually erodes many important ear structures. Growths may be surgically removed via mastoidectomy, an elective outpatient procedure, or tympanoplasty, a procedure that repairs damage to the eardrum. 

 

Cholesterol Granuloma

 

These rare, benign cysts typically develop deep in the mastoid bone in an area known as the petrous apex; while cholesterol granulomas typically do not produce symptoms or adverse side effects, they can be potentially harmful because of their proximity to the ear, the brain and some critical nerves. Without treatment, these cysts may expand, resulting in problems with severe headaches, dizziness, permanent hearing loss, nerve damage and (rarely) seizures. Cholesterol granulomas may be treated surgically using microscopic and endoscopic techniques.

 

Ear Canal Stenosis

 

Ear canal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the ear canals. This condition may be present at birth (aural atresia), or it may develop as a result of injury, repeat ear canal infections, swimmer’s ear or other conditions. It’s important to treat ear canal stenosis, as this condition can lead to hearing loss, increased risk of infection or cholesteatoma (described above), among other conditions. 

 

Ear Cancer

 

Though extremely rare, ear cancer may develop in both the external and internal parts of the ear. It typically begins as skin cancer on the outer ear before spreading into other parts, such as the ear canal or eardrum. The temporal bone is another area where ear cancer may develop. Treatment may be available through your doctor at Advanced ENT Services. Let your provider know if you experience unusual lumps or scaly skin, hearing loss, discharge, ear pain, dizziness, headache or ringing in the ears.

 

Ear Eczema/Dermatitis

 

Chronic ear canal eczema (scaling or flaking of the skin of the ear canal or outside the ear) can occur as a result of exposure to allergens. Many people have an allergic reaction to hair and skin care products, as well as earrings containing nickel. Your physician may recommend topical drugs or corticosteroids to control itchiness, redness, and other symptoms associated with ear eczema.

 

Ear Foreign Bodies

 

A foreign body, such as a bead, pebble, or insect, may become lodged in the ear canal. Earrings may become embedded in the ear lobe or other cartilage. In both cases, an ENT physician can remove the foreign body and repair damage done to the tissue.

 

Ear Malformation

 

Also known as “microtia,” congenital ear malformation describes the underdevelopment, malformation or absence of an outer ear, sometimes including the ear canal (see “Aural Atresia”). Ear malformation typically occurs on just one side. The condition can have associated hearing loss and require surgical repair. The outer ear can also be created surgically to improve overall cosmesis.

 

Ear Pain

 

Ear pain may develop for a number of reasons, including earwax buildup, changes in ear pressure, ear infection, swimmer’s ear and more. Because of the way nerves are located in the face and neck, referred pain from a tooth or the jaw may sometimes be perceived as ear pain. Doctors at Advanced ENT Services can perform diagnostic and therapeutic care to identify and address the cause of earache in children and adults.

 

Ear Tube Care

 

Approximately one in fifteen children in the U.S. receives ear tubes by the age of three. Ear tubes may require some basic follow-up care every four to six months after placement. A final check may be done six to twelve months after the ear tubes have fallen out. If the ear tubes do not fall out on their own, or if there is infection or complications (such as failure of the eardrum to close), additional care may be required.

 

Earwax

 

Earwax is a normal, healthy part of the body that naturally cleans and protects the ear canal. In some cases, earwax can partially or fully block the ear canal, causing earache, dizziness, diminished hearing, tinnitus, cough, or a feeling of fullness in the affected ear. Earwax removal can be done in-office at any of Advanced ENT Services’ 13 practice locations.

 

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

 

The Eustachian tube is a narrow passageway connecting the middle ear to the throat. This tube regulates air pressure and prevents fluid from building up inside the ear. When Eustachian tubes become plugged, hearing may be reduced. Individuals may also experience ear pain, fullness, tinnitus, or have balance issues. An ENT provider can diagnose Eustachian tube dysfunction and provide treatment, if needed.

 

External Ear Tumor

 

Though extremely rare, external ear tumors do occur; they can be either malignant or benign. Your ENT provider at Advanced ENT Services can provide diagnostic and therapeutic care for external ear tumors.

 

Facial Paralysis

 

Partial or total facial paralysis can occur as a result of nerve damage. Nerve damage may be caused by congenital defects, middle ear infections, cholesteatoma, trauma, Bell’s palsy, or other conditions. Not only can paralysis affect a person’s ability to move the face and create facial expressions; it can also cause problems with saliva production and sensation. An otolaryngologist can diagnose and treat facial paralysis.

 

Fluid in Middle Ear

 

Middle ear infection (otitis media) can develop as a result of fluid buildup in the middle ear. This can lead to acute or chronic infection, resulting in ear pain, headache, balance issues, drainage, hearing problems, and more. Treatment may be available through the use of drugs or surgery.

 

Glomus Jugulare Tumor

 

Though almost always benign, glomus jugulare tumors (located in the skull deep to the ear) can cause significant problems for the ears because of their close proximity. These tumors may cause hearing loss, facial paralysis and difficulty swallowing. Surgical removal may be done by an otolaryngologist at Advanced ENT Services.

 

Middle Ear Effusions (Fluid Buildup – Acute And Chronic)

 

Fluid buildup in the middle ear (effusion) can be caused by a blockage in Eustachian tubes. While middle ear effusion typically goes away on its own, this condition sometimes requires intervention. If left untreated, chronic middle ear effusion could affect your child’s hearing and ability to learn speech.

 

Middle Ear Tumor

 

Tumors of the middle ear are uncommon. However, they do require treatment. Whether benign or cancerous, a middle ear tumor can cause hearing loss, ear pain, nerve compression, balance problems, and other issues. These tumors may be surgically removed by an otolaryngologist.

 

Otorrhea (Ear Canal Discharge)

 

Otorrhea is a condition that describes discharge from the middle ear into the ear canal via ear tubes or a perforation in the eardrum. If you or your child experiences ear drainage (especially when no ear tubes are present), let your otolaryngologist know. Treatment may be possible with oral or ear drop antibiotics. If discharge is coming through a perforation in the eardrum, surgical repair may be necessary.

 

Otosclerosis

 

Otosclerosis is an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear that can cause hearing loss or exacerbate hearing loss in those who already struggle with hearing problems. Otosclerosis sometimes runs in families, but can occur sporadically as well. The condition is frequently treated with laser stapedotomy, a procedure done on the stapes, the smallest bone in the ear and the human body. 

 

Ototoxicity

 

Ototoxicity, “ear poisoning,” can result from exposure to drugs or toxic chemicals that damage the inner ear or balance nerve. Ototoxicity can cause long-term damage if not addressed. Your ENT provider may be able to help identify ototoxic medications in your system and advise in healthy abstinence from or replacement of those medications in order to help.

 

Perforated or Ruptured Eardrum (Tympanic Membrane Perforations)

 

A perforated eardrum is characterized by a small hole or tear in the tissue between the ear canal and the middle ear. A perforation or rupture may occur as a result of trauma, infection, sudden changes in pressure, loud blast or foreign object. Many perforated eardrums will heal on their own without intervention; others require patching or surgery (tympanoplasty).

 

Preauricular Cyst (Pit or Dimple Outside the Ear)

 

A preauricular cyst (sometimes called a “pit”) is a sinus cavity beneath the skin that occurs right in front of the outer ear. These cavities, which are present at birth, may be simple or complex, branching out in the tissues surrounding the ear. The cysts may be prone to infection, potentially developing into an abscess. Specialists at Advanced ENT Services can surgically remove these tracts as necessary.

 

Swimmer's Ear Infection (Otitis Externa)

 

Swimmer’s ear is a common infection of the outer ear canal that typically occurs from water remaining in the ear after swimming. The damp conditions of the ear canal nurture an environment where bacteria or fungi can grow, leading to an infection that can cause pain, warmth, and redness in the outer ear. It’s important to note that you can develop swimmer’s ear without even getting in water. Having narrow ear canals or prolonged use of earbuds or hearing aids can also lead to swimmer’s ear.

 

Tinnitus

 

Tinnitus is a common symptom characterized by a ringing or buzzing noise in one or both ears. Tinnitus affects as many as one in five people. Tinnitus is not a disease itself, but sometimes is a sign of an underlying health condition, such as ear injury, an issue with the circulatory system, or age-related hearing loss. It can also be a symptom associated with anxiety, stress or depression. Successful treatment may require treating the underlying health condition. Your doctor may also remove excess ear wax or recommend a change in medications to help resolve the issue.

 

Find an ENT Provider Near You in New York

To see a board-certified ENT doctor at one of our 11 practice locations in the Hudson Valley, please call 914.693.7636 to request an appointment.   We accept most insurances including Medicare and Medicaid; please be sure to ask the practice representative if we accept your insurance plan. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.