Dizziness, vertigo, and motion sickness all have to do with a sense of balance and equilibrium. Vertigo is usually caused by an issue with the inner ear. Benign positional vertigo happens after a sudden change in the position of the head, such as lying down, turning over in bed, looking up quickly, or stooping to the ground after standing for a while. BPV is the most common cause of dizziness after a head injury (even a very mild one). Other possible causes can include Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder, as well as migraine, infection, injury, or even allergies.
Learn more about dizziness & vertigo treatments at Westwood.
Conditions like illness, genetics, and even normal aging, can all contribute to hearing loss. Aging, loud noises, head trauma, infection or ear wax are the most common causes of hearing loss. Treatment depends on the type and source of hearing loss. Surgery can reverse hearing loss caused by otosclerosis, scar tissue, or infection, while Ménière's disease could be treated with medications and simply modifying your diet. Hearing loss caused by infection can often be treated with antibiotics. To determine the best path to recovery, make an appointment so that some testing can be done and a plan tailored to your specific ailment and anatomy can be made.
Learn more about hearing loss solutions at Westwood.
Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
An ear infection (or “acute otitis media”) is usually a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear (which is the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the ear’s tiny vibrating structures). Children are more likely to get ear infections than adults. They are often painful because of inflammation caused by buildup of fluids in the middle ear. Since ear infections can clear up on their own, the treatment you seek at first may just be to manage the pain. Ear infection in infants and severe cases in general require antibiotic medications, however. Long-term problems related to ear infections (such as persistent fluids in the middle ear or chronic infections) can cause hearing problems and other serious complications, so even a seemingly minor infection should be monitored to a degree.
Learn more about recurrent ear infection or middle ear damage treatment at Westwood.
Ringing in the Ears (Tinnitus)
Tinnitus is defined as noise or ringing in the ears. It is often a phantom noise that can vary in pitch and be heard in one or both ears. It is likely to sound like a ringing, buzzing, or hissing. Subjective tinnitus, the most common type, is tinnitus only you can hear. Objective tinnitus can actually be heard with a special tool though when a doctor does an examination. This is a rare type of tinnitus and may be caused by a blood vessel problem, muscle contractions, or a condition of the inner ear bone. Although it can worsen with age, for most people, tinnitus can improve with treatment. It helps to start with finding the underlying cause, so see your doctor if you would like help ridding yourself of this annoyance. It can put stress on your relationships, work, and your daily activities in general, so we don’t recommend try ignoring it forever.
Learn more about Tinnitus treatments available at Westwood.
Swimmer's ear is an infection in the outer ear canal. This structure runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head. The condition is often brought on by water that gets stuck in your ear after swimming, creating a moist environment where bacteria flourish. Symptoms may include:
- Itching and/or pain in your ear canal
- Redness inside your ear
- Discomfort that's made worse by pulling on your outer ear or pushing on the tragus (that little "bump") in front of your ear
- Some drainage of clear, odorless fluid
For treatment you will most likely be prescribed ear drops but it may also be recommended that you use over-the-counter pain relievers to ease the discomfort. To prevent this problem, if you feel you have remaining water in your ear after activities like swimming or showering, be sure to tilt your head to a side and shake it out. You can also purchase ear plugs that will eliminate the worry that may come with these activities if you are prone to getting swimmer’s ear.