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Have Questions for the Ear Doctor?


Why does my child have so many ear infections?

When a child has a cold, allergy or upper respiratory infection, bacteria or viruses can collect behind the ear drum, preventing proper drainage. This can cause an inflammation and pain in the ear.  Ear infections, also called otitis media, are usually treated with medications. Sometimes, the infection doesn’t fully respond to the medications, or fluid does not completely drain. These issues can result in persistent infections and hearing loss.


What are ear tubes? 

Ear tubes are tiny cylinders placed through the ear drum that allow air to flow into the middle ear.  This helps drain fluid from the ear, relieving pressure and pain. Ear tubes can also help restore hearing loss caused by fluid, and improve balance and speech problems. Some tubes are designed to fall out of the ear on their own in about six to twelve months. Others are intended to remain in the ear longer and may need to be surgically removed.


What is swimmer’s ear?

Swimmer’s ear is an ear infection of the ear canal skin and often results from exposure to water.  Also called otitis externa, swimmer’s ear occurs when bacteria infects the outer ear and ear canal, causing inflammation and pain.


Is ear wax normal?

Yes, it is! In fact, ear wax, also called cerumen, is a good thing because it helps to clean and lubricate the ear and protect it from bacteria, fungi and insects. There are times, however, when ear wax can be a problem. If there is too much, it can press against the eardrum, block the auditory canal and cause hearing loss.


I hear ringing in my ears. Why?

You may have Tinnitus, a condition that causes you to hear sounds inside the ear that are not really occurring. These “phantom” sounds are often described as whizzing, buzzing, clicking, roaring, hissing, humming or whistling. The most common cause of Tinnitus is long-term exposure to loud noises. But, it can also be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as an ear infection or injury, excess wax, an allergy, certain medications, a problem with the circulatory system or age-related hearing loss.


Can ear problems cause dizziness?

Yes, an inner ear problem can cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded or confused. Or, it can make you feel as if you’re floating. One of the most common of these feelings is Vertigo, a type of dizziness that creates the sensation of spinning or swaying, even through your body is stationary.


What is Ménière’s disease?

Ménière’s disease is an inner ear disorder that affects hearing and balance, often causing Vertigo.  Common symptoms are hearing loss that comes and goes, Tinnitus and pressure in the ears.