Retracted Eardrum

Retrieved from (LINK REMOVED) Retired Earwax Remedy For Tinnitus In Children?

A Review Of The Literature

Ears are not just ears; they are organs with their own unique anatomy, physiology, and behavior. They have been called “the most complex organ” (1). Their structure, function, and response to environmental stimuli vary widely among individuals.

Some ears respond well to hearing aids or other medical treatments while others do not. Many children with congenital deafness develop tinnitus after age 5 years (2). Tinnitus may be a symptom of underlying otologic disease such as meningitis or otosclerosis (3), it may result from trauma during birth or infancy, or it may occur later in life due to aging. Although there is no single cause for tinnitus, several factors appear to increase its prevalence: 1) the ear’s natural ability to protect itself against noise and infection; 2) exposure to loud noises early in life; 3) genetic predisposition toward hearing loss; 4) ototoxic drugs used in otolaryngology treatment; and 5) use of certain types of hearing aids.

The first step in treating any condition involving the inner ear is identifying the problem. There are several reliable tests for measuring hearing loss or determining the presence of a hearing aid. Usually, however, a patient will complain of symptoms that are familiar to an otolaryngologist.

Other conditions that mimic hearing loss must be ruled out as well.

Because the ear is such an important organ with so many potential problems, otolaryngologists are specially trained in its anatomy, physiology, and diseases. Otologists are physicians or surgeons who diagnose and treat diseases, disorders, injuries, and deformities of the ear, nose, and throat (3). They also specialize in treating problems of hearing and balance.

Hearing loss can be congenital or acquired and it can be isolated to one or both ears. There are three different types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. Conductive hearing loss is caused by problems in the outer or middle ear.

It can be temporary or permanent and it can be partial or complete. Some examples of conductive hearing loss include infections, fluid in the middle ear (otitis media), excessive ear wax, or a deformity of the external ear. These types of hearing loss are often readily treated with medication, antibiotics, ventilating tubes (such as Grommets), or surgery. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the parts of the ear that turn sound into electrical signals that can be understood by the brain. The term “nerve” in this definition refers to the hearing nerves in the inner ear (cochlea) and the auditory nerve, which carry electrical signals from the ear to the brain. It is typically permanent and sometimes partial, but can be complete. It cannot be medically or surgically treated. The third type of hearing loss is known as mixed hearing loss. It refers to a combination of the two other types (2).

There are several risk factors for hearing loss. Some are avoidable and some are unavoidable. It is very important to be aware of factors that may cause hearing loss because even a short period of noise overexposure can result in permanent hearing loss.

Some common sources of noise overexposure are loud music, mowing the lawn, using power tools, and attending rock concerts. Prolonged exposure to less intense sounds can also cause hearing loss. Common sources include cell phones, talking loudly, living near a busy road, working in industry, and living near an airport. Even one-time events, such as a firecracker, gunshot, or explosion, can cause noise-related hearing loss. The ears have delicate hairs that can be permanently damaged by loud noises. These hairs are essential for hearing because they transmit sound waves to the inner ear (1).

Conductive hearing loss in children is often caused by otitis media (middle ear infection), but it can sometimes be caused by trauma or repeated severe infections. In most cases, the condition is temporary and hearing will return to normal once the infection or cause of trauma is treated.

In some cases, traumatic ear injury can cause permanent hearing loss. This can happen from a one-time event such as an explosion, gunshot wound, or an accident, or it can be caused by frequent exposure to loud noises at work or at recreational activities.

Audiograms measure hearing ability through a series of tests. They typically test frequencies at various volumes. An audiogram can detect hearing thresholds, which is the faintest sound a person can hear in a quiet environment.

These measurements can be used to determine the type and extent of hearing loss (2).

There are many types of treatment for conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids and surgery. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you think you are experiencing any type of hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be medically treated, but there are other options such as cochlear implants and hearing aids (1).

There are some things that can help prevent hearing loss. It is important to avoid exposure to loud noises. Do not turn up the volume on your music player or MP3 if you think it may damage your hearing.

If you go to concerts, wear earplugs or bring along someone who can offer an extra set. Avoid working around loud machinery for extended periods of time. This includes lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, and anything else that may cause sudden loud noises. When working in industry or manufacturing, be sure to wear ear protection. If you are going to a place where there may be loud noises, such as a rock concert or gun range, bring along earplugs or buy some at the location. There are also other steps you can take to prevent hearing loss. It is important to seek help at the first sign of hearing loss because it can be prevented (2).

Sources & references used in this article:

Etiology of the retraction pocket in the posterosuperior quadrant of the eardrum by A Bhide – Archives of Otolaryngology, 1977 –

Dynamics of eardrum changes following secretory otitis: a prospective study by M Tos, SE Stangerup, P Larsen – Archives of Otolaryngology …, 1987 –

A new pathogenesis of mesotympanic (congenital) cholesteatoma by M Tos – The Laryngoscope, 2000 – Wiley Online Library

Blue eardrum by JG Hall – Acta oto-laryngologica, 1957 – Taylor & Francis