itchy-outer-ears-file

Itchy Ears – A Universal Condition

JUST about everybody at one point or another has experienced itchy ears. One of the most common questions I am asked in my practice is: “what makes my ears itch?” There are a variety of causes of itchy ears ranging from temporary and easily treatable to chronic and difficult to treat. Itchy ears can be…
read more

Fluctuating Hearing – Simple to Complex Causes

Hearing that fluctuates over time can cause annoyance and distress, especially when the cause is not yet identified. Fluctuating hearing may range from mild and transient, to severe and long lasting. Apart from hearing loss, other symptoms may include a feeling of fullness, imbalance/dizziness, tinnitus (noises in the ear) and nausea. The specific combination of…
read more

Is Age Related Hearing Loss Inevitable?

Many of my patients ask me what they can do to minimize hearing decline in later years. Apart from protecting the ears against excessive noise, the next best thing one can do, is to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. While this answer may not satisfy those patients looking for an elusive pill or supplement…
read more

Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus and Hearing

The link between diabetes and eye disease is well established in the literature. While the effects of diabetes on hearing are less commonly known, there are modest correlations between diabetes and hearing loss. Diabetes mellitus is a group of conditions characterized by an alteration of the body’s ability to  regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. Type…
read more

Keratosis Obturans – When Ear Wax Is Not Ear Wax

Keratosis obturans is an uncommon disorder characterized by the formation of a keratinized plug in the inner half of the ear canal.  Keratin is a fibrous protein which gives strength and rigidity to skin and nails. Highly keratinized skin provides the basis for callus formation, as seen on the fingers of guitar players. Callused skin…
read more

Could Cellular Stress Finally Explain Sudden Hearing Loss?

Sudden sensori-neural hearing loss (SSHL) is defined as a hearing loss which develops in under 72 hours. In most cases symptoms arise within minutes or hours, and may even occur instantaneously with an abrupt ‘pop’ heard in the ear. SSHL results from damage to the neural structures of the inner ear, and is not associated…
read more

Cauliflower Ear – How To Prevent

Cauliflower ear is a deformity of the pinna (outer ear structure) resulting from inflammation of the fibrous tissue overlying the ear cartilage (auricular perichondritis) This form of perichondritis is usually caused by blunt trauma from contact sports, such as boxing, wrestling, martial arts and rugby. On occasion ear piercing can also result in infection and…
read more

Mastoiditis – Childhood Memories

Older generations may still shudder at hearing the word ‘mastoiditis’, an infection of the air cells located behind the ear. Prior to antibiotic therapies, mastoiditis was an all too frequent complication of bacterial middle ear infections common in children. Just behind the ear lies a bony protuberance called the mastoid process. The mastoid bone comprises…
read more

Otic Barotrauma – Flyers and Divers Beware!

At one time or another, most people will experience the discomfort caused by not being able to ‘pop’ one’s ears during an aircraft descent. When air pressure in the space behind the eardrum (the middle ear) is not maintained at atmospheric pressure, tension is placed on the eardrum. It is the job of the Eustachian tubes…
read more

Recruitment – When soft is too soft and loud is too loud!

While it may seem strange that someone with a hearing loss would exclaim: “don’t shout, I’m not deaf!”,  there is actually good basis for their protests. Most cases of permanent hearing loss involve more than a reduction in ability to detect softer sounds, there is generally an oversensitivity to louder sounds also. This apparent paradox stems…
read more