What is the Ear?
The external ear is called the auricle. It is the pretty part of the ear that we see on the outside of the body and where we hook glasses or wear earrings. The mechanics of the ear exist inside the hole in the head into the auditory canal that proceed to the middle and inner ear. This is where most ear issues occur. The labyrinth is the organ of hearing inside the internal ear.
What are the most common ear problems?
- Ear pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Fluid in the Ears
What is the Cause of Ear Pain?
Ear pain is most commonly caused by infection in the external ear (otitis externa) or the middle ear (otitis media). The infection itself can appear due to the following reasons; cold virus, secondary infection and/or swimming. Other causes of pain can be due to allergies that will cause fluid build up and pressure behind the ears themselves.
What is the Cause of Dizziness?
This is commonly a cause due to a spinal misalignment, allergies/ fluid in the ears and allergies. Some infections of the ear will also cause dizziness and nausea.
What is the cause of Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?
It can occur due to age related hearing loss, fluid in the ears, a circulation problem or injury to the ear itself (physical trauma). Some head trauma has also been known to cause what is perceived as ringing in the ear.
How are ear conditions diagnosed?
The ear exam goes with a physical exam of the external ear. The doctor uses an otoscope and looks into the medial can and the eardrum to see if fluid is present. The doctor will look at the ear canal to determine if it is red and swollen or any damage like a scratch or foreign body is in the canal. If a patient has too much ear wax for the doctor to see, they will use an ear curette to remove the wax. The next part of the diagnoses comes from symptoms. Here is a short list of symptoms that accompany ear problems:
- Ear Pain
- Tooth pain
- Fullness in the ear
- Ear itching
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ear
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of balance
The doctor will then evaluate whether any of these symptoms are due to virus or infection by checking past history of illness or trauma and taking the patient’s temperature.
What are the common Diseases of the Ear and how are they treated?
- Ear infection: Topical medication and/or oral antibiotic ( herbal alternatives available) and Chiropractic adjustments of the neck to drain fluids.
- Vertigo: Chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture and Epley’s Maneuver
- Tinnitus: Chiropractic adjustments or acupuncture (if these fail to relieve the ringing a neurologic exam is often warranted)
- Meniere’s Disease: medication, acupuncture, or rehabilitation and in extreme cases surgery
- Allergy related ear fullness: medication, acupuncture and massage