About the Ear

Do you have a problem with your ear?

Here is some useful information related to the ear that will help you understand your doctor’s diagnosis better

Bell's palsy

Bell's palsy is due is paralysis of the facial nerve. It may be due to viral infection but often the cause is unknown. Treatment includes high doses of steroids and facial exercises along with eye care. Patients who do not respond to treatment within 6 weeks may require facial nerve decompression surgery.

Ear drum perforations

Ear drum perforations can occur due to trauma or infection. The first precaution when the ear drum is perforated is to keep the ear dry ─ don't allow water in the ear. Infection is treated with antibiotics. If the drum does not heal, you will require a surgery, called Tympanoplasty, in which tympanic membrane grafting is done.


Cholesteatoma is a dangerous type of discharging ear, which erodes the bones of the ear. Negligence can lead to serious complications like hearing loss, vertigo, facial paralysis and brain abscess. It is treated surgically.

Cochlear implant

The cochlear implant is an electronic device, which is implanted surgically in the ear of patients with profound hearing loss. A cochlear implant is a useful device for people who are born deaf or with hearing impairment, and for people who have lost their hearing due to accident, disease or medication. A cochlear implant sends the sound signal directly to the nerve of hearing, which is then transmitted to the brain bypassing the non-functional cochlea. After a successful implantation, a patient requires auditory-verbal therapy.

Ear problems during air travel

The Eustacian tube connects the middle ear with the nose and is responsible for equalizing the pressure within the ear with the atmosphere outside. During air travel, especially while taking off and landing, pressure changes occur. If the Eustachian tube is not working properly or is blocked you may experience heaviness, a blocked sensation or even pain in the ears. It is a good idea to chew gum or to keep swallowing during take-off and landing as it keeps the Eustachian tube functioning.

Ear wax

Ear wax is a normal secretion of the outer ear, which protects the ear from bacterial and fungal infections. Ears have the tendency to naturally clean themselves. There is no need to use earbuds to clean wax. Earbuds may actually push the wax further deeper into the ear causing a blocked feeling, hearing loss or pain. When the ears get blocked due to wax, they need to be cleaned by an ENT specialist.

Meniere's disease

Our inner ear has 2 functions to perform ─ hearing and maintenance of balance. The latter is controlled by the vestibular system, which consists of canals which are filled with fluid. In Meniere's disease, the pressure of this fluid increases, leading to episodic hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo. A proper evaluation of these patients is required for correct diagnosis and staging of the disease. If inadequately treated, the patient may suffer from permanent hearing loss.

Motion sickness

The balance system of our body is dependent on three sensory inputs from the eyes, ears, and joints and muscles. The information given by the three sensors helps the brain determine how to maintain balance. When you are travelling by road or boat there is often a sensory mismatch in the information given to the brain, due to which you may feel giddy or nauseous. This is called motion sickness, which is preventable by medication. Vestibular rehabilitation also helps in relieving or reducing the severity of motion sickness.

Sensorineural hearing loss

This type of hearing loss is due to a weakness of the nerve of hearing. It can either be congenital i.e. by birth or develop any time after birth due to exposure to loud noise, injury, infections, ototoxic drugs, aging, etc. Patients of sensorineural hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids. Patients of profound hearing loss who do not respond well to hearing aids may require cochlear implants.

Sudden hearing loss

Sudden hearing loss may occur in patients of any age and is a medical emergency. Treatment must be started at the earliest using intratympanic injection of steroids and oral medication. Intratympanic steroid injection provides a route of administration of high dose of drug to the local site without systemic side effects. Treatment for sudden hearing loss is most effective in the first 15 days of onset.


Tinnitus is a feeling of sound being produced in the ear — it may be humming, buzzing or any other sound. Patients of this disease require a proper evaluation to decide the hearing level and the characteristics of this sound. Tinnitus retraining therapy is one of the best techniques used for patients of this problem. Sometimes, patients with hearing loss may also get tinnitus and may require hearing aids.