Our ears are important sensory organs that play a huge role in connecting us to the external environment. They allow us to hear our surroundings and take appropriate actions base on that information. Apart from hearing others, our ears also help us maintain balance.
Because of these important functions that our ears play, it is important to keep them healthy. On this website you will find information regarding the most common inner ear problem, their symptoms and current treatment options that are available.
Common Inner Ear Problems and Options
As we grow older, our ability to hear sounds decreases significantly. There were not many treatments or other options in the past to overcome this problem. However, now days there are plenty of options available to deal with hearing loss. Technology in particular, and advances in medical science, has helped produce equipment that help us deal with continuing hearing loss and other ear problems.
As you read further, you will come across many disorders of the inner ear. A common symptom that is encountered with most conditions is hearing loss (temporary or permanent). Hearing aids can be used to counter hearing loss. I have listed below some of the common and popular hearing aids that are available for you to purchase via Amazon. These hearing aids are cheap and can save you thousands and thousands of dollars.
Use the interactive chat of hearing aids below to find the best one for yourself.
|RCA Symphonix Rechargable Personal Sound Amplifier||Mini-BTE||Yes||Yes||Yes||$$||4.0|
|Super Ear Personal Sound Amplifier, Model EZ-121||BTE||Yes||Yes||Yes||$||3.0|
|Super Ear Personal Sound Amplifier, Model EZ-114||BTE||Yes||Yes||Yes||$||3.5|
|Tinbest Super Ear Personal Sound Amplifier||BTE||Yes||Yes||Yes||$||4.0|
|MEDca High Quality Rechargeable Ear Hearing Amplifier||BTE||Yes||Yes||Yes||$||3.3|
|Light Weight Owl Rechargeable Sound Amplifier||BTE||Yes||Yes||Yes||$||3.6|
|TinBest EAR Hearing Amplifier||BTE||Yes||Yes||Yes||$||3.4|
|The Owl XL Hearing Amplifier||BTE||Yes||Yes||Yes||$||3.1|
|MEDca ITE Mini Super Ear Personal Sound Amplifier "Rechargable"||ITE||Yes||Yes||Yes||$||3.0|
|NewEar ITE Mini Rechargeable Microtron||ITE||Yes||Yes||Yes||$||3.0|
In the chart above, you have seven columns.
- Hearing aid names with pictures (click to view or purchase)
- Type of hearing aid (BTE, mini-BTE, ITE, ITC, and CITC. Click here to learn about different types of hearing aids)
- Feedback suppression mechanism
- Price – Average price of the item. This may change over time so $ = under 100, $$ = under 200, and $$$ = over 200.
- Rating – Average rating by the Amazon customers who have purchased hearing aids in the past. This rating can be really helpful when deciding which aid to buy. Best thing is that these ratings are provided by people who have used the product in the past and know great deal about it. See what they have to say before you take anyone else’s word for it.
You may also click on the column to sort it as you wish.
Inner Ears Diseases Research
Medical science has advanced rapidly in the past decade and it continuous to do so. Scientists around the globe are coming up with better treatments every day to tackle large number of diseases. As a result, there are better treatment options available now days to treat inner ear condition.
Continuous research will lead to the development of better treatments and hopefully improve the quality of life. We will update this website frequently as the new treatment options come out.
A Little Bit About The Structure of Ear
Structure of our ear is complex, which is obvious because of its crucial function. I will not go into many details about the structure of it but I will point out the regions and major parts before we move further.
As you can see in the picture above, ear has three distinct parts: external ear, middle ear and inner ear.
External ear ends at the tympanic membrane which marks the beginning of middle ear. Middle ear consists of three bones which are malleus, incus and stapes. One of the common medical conditions that affect this part of the ear is called otitis media.
Inner ear consists of Inner ear begins where stapes connects to the oval window of cochlea. Two important components of inner ear are cochlea and semicircular canals. Major purpose of the semicircular canals is to provide the sensory input for experiences of rotary movements. And, function of cochlea is to convert sound waves into action potential which are then passed on the auditory cortex of the brain via cranial nerve VIII.
Now let’s briefly look at some of the common inner ear problems. Be sure to check the corresponding pages to get more details about the condition and also the treatment options available to you.
Age-related hearing loss is termed presbycusis. It is the cumulative effect of aging on the hearing that results in presbycusis. If hearing loss accumulated as you age, but is not due to the normal aging process, it can’t be called presbycusis.
There are number of causes for this condition, some of which are hereditary, atherosclerosis, diabetes, quality and type of your diet, exposure to loud noises, smoking, high blood pressure and ingestion of ototoxic drugs.
There are a number of treatments that will be available in coming years. You can read more about this condition here.
Both bacterial and viral infections can affect our ear. However, viral infections are more commonly seen in the ear rather than the middle ear. Bacterial infections mostly affect the middle ear and result in conditions such as otitis media.
When the inner ear is infected or the nerves that connect inner ear to the brain, two disorders that result are called Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis. Inner ear infection symptoms include dizziness and vertigo among many others. Click here to find more about symptoms and inner ear infection treatments.
As stated above, both Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis result due to viral infection in the inner ear. Such infections affection different part of the ear and therefore have a different name.
Generally, Labyrinthitis is the inflammation of the labyrinth part of the ear. It occurs when branches of the vestibule-cochlear nerve are affected by the infection. As a result, it causes a change in hearing and vertigo or dizziness.
When an infection affects branches of vestibule-cochlear nerve, associated with balance, Vestibular Neuritis occurs. It is important to note that this condition causes dizziness or vertigo (like Labyrinthitis) BUT there is NO change in hearing.
So once again, the difference between the Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis is the part of vestibule-cochlear nerve that is affected by the viral infection.
If you are on this website then I’m sure you know or have heard of vertigo. Vertigo is the sudden feeling or sensation that you are spinning or your head is spinning (inside of your head). BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo.
According to Mayo Clinic, vertigo is characterized by the sudden episodes of mild to intense dizziness. Usually BPPV is not a serious problem. However, it is serious when dizziness is intense and it increases your chances of falling and injuring yourself.
There are effective treatments available for this condition.
Meniere’s disease (also known as primary idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops) is a condition of the inner ear which causes vertigo (episodes of dizziness), vomiting, nausea, some hearing loss, feeling of fullness inside the ear, and roaring and hissing in the ears.
This condition comes and goes and some people experience it more than once a year.
Currently there is no medicine available to cure this condition. But doctors commonly prescribe diuretics and other medicine to relieve symptoms. People also try acupuncture and herbal remedies. If such treatments do not relieve symptoms, surgery may be needed. There are various types of surgeries that are performed depending on the symptoms experienced by the patient.
Endolymphatic hydrops is of two types, primary and secondary. As seen above, primary endolymphatic hydrops is a condition known as Meniere’s disease. Secondary endolymphatic hydrops causes pressure or fullness in the ears, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), imbalance, vertigo (dizziness) and hearing loss.
Secondary endolymphatic hydrops is caused by an underlying medical condition. Treatment involves targeting the underlying condition and stabilizing body’s fluid levels.
At the beginning of this article, I briefly went over the anatomy of the ear. If you remember, the structures that separate the middle ear and inner ear are oval window and round window. There windows are tiny and thin. Perilymph results whenever there is a tear or some kind of defect in any of these windows.
Pressure changes in the middle ear and it doesn’t normally affect the inner ear. In patients suffering from perilymph fistula, the pressure change in middle ear affects inner ear and common symptoms often result. Some of the symptoms that result are dizziness, vertigo, vomiting, nausea, hearing loss and imbalance.
SCD results when the bone overlying the superior semicircular canal opens up. Some of the symptoms that one can experience are vertigo and oscillopsia.
Acoustic neuroma is a tumour which develops from the hearing and balance nerves supplying the inner part of the ear. It is non-malignant and usually grows very slowly. This tumour develops from the over-production of Schwann cells which wrap around nerves.
Symptoms include one-sided hearing loss, loss of balance, dizziness and ringing in the ears. Treatment options available are surgical removal, radiation and monitoring.
Ototoxicity is basically the poisoning of the inner ear. This condition results when your inner ear is exposed to the toxic drugs or chemicals causing damage to the inner ear parts of the nerves sending sensory information to the brain.
Ringing in the ears occur when cochlea is damaged. Symptoms can be temporary or permanent depending on the extent of exposure.
There are no permanent cures for this condition. Symptoms are usually dealt with the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants in specific cases.
When your vestibular aqueduct becomes larger than normal it is called enlarged vestibular aqueduct syndrome. EVAS is known to be caused by genetics and environmental condition at birth and during early years of development. Common symptoms associated with this condition include hearing loss and difficulty maintaining balance.
Currently, there are no treatments for this condition. Use of hearing aids has been unsuccessful in the past but cochlear implants have been quite successful. Head traumas should be avoided as prevention is the best cure.
There are many other inner ear problems that affect people around the globe. The inner ear disorders listed here are the most common ones found among populations. As you may have noticed, not all disorders have proper treatments to cure the diseases. Medical science is advancing rapidly and new treatments become available. We hope that the information provided on this website helps you understand the diseases of the inner ear, common symptoms that are often observed or felt, and available treatments.