Myringotomy tubes may be ideal for individuals, most often children, who suffer from chronic ear infections, specifically excessive fluid in the middle ear. During this procedure, a small tube is placed into your ear drum allowing the fluid to drain better and prevent accumulation. This reduces the recurrence of ear infections.
This is a common procedure designed to repair a hole caused by deterioration of your eardrum or trauma. Chronic ear infections are a common cause of perforations, but physical trauma such as a blow to the ear or a blast injury can also result in perforation. During this procedure, the surgeon will repair the eardrum with a graft of tissue.
In rare cases, skin cells may accumulate in your middle ear, forming a skin cyst called a cholesteatoma. This can be caused by several factors including chronic ear infections or longstanding perforations of the eardrum. Symptoms may be more subtle such as hearing loss or ear drainage. As skin cysts grow, they become chronically infected and destructive. Damage to any part of the ear may occur and thus cholesteatomas are dangerous when left untreated.
Cholesteatomas generally require surgical removal. Other additional procedures may be required to repair any damage caused by the cyst, including a Tympanoplasty and/or an Ossicular Reconstruction.
Your mastoid bone is located behind your ear and contains many holes, similar to the look of a sponge. Sometimes, recurrent ear infections result in the holes of the mastoid bone filling with chronically infected fluid, requiring a mastoidectomy. One may also be necessary if a cholesteatoma has developed in or spread to the mastoid bone.
During this procedure, your surgeon will remove the affected portion of the mastoid bone.
Damage or disintegration of the bones in our middle ear may occur with chronic ear infections, cysts, tumors or trauma. When this occurs, your physician may recommend Ossicular Reconstruction. During this procedure, the damaged bone(s) are replaced with various prostheses to reconstruct the sound conduction mechanism.
Your stirrup bone (stapes) is one of three bones that conduct sound through the middle ear. It is the smallest bone in the body. In some people this bone can become immobile due to Otosclerosis, a disease of the bone of the inner ear, in which calcium builds up around the stirrup. When this occurs, the stirrup cannot vibrate, and sound does not get transferred from the eardrum to the inner ear. This results in conductive hearing loss.
During a Stapedectomy, the stirrup is removed and a prosthesis is put in its place. The prosthesis vibrates normally and allows the patient to hear better.
Glomus Tumors and Acoustic Neuromas are two types of tumors, both benign and typically slow-growing, that can develop inside your ear. Glomus Tumors typically develop in the middle ear, and Acoustic Neuromas develop on the balance and hearing nerves deep to your inner ear. These tumors result in similar symptoms including, hearing loss and tinnitus. Left untreated, these tumors can continue to grow and cause damage to vital structures.
If a tumor is found, your physician will monitor its growth and will determine whether surgical removal, specialized radiation treatment, or careful observation is appropriate.
If you suffer from severe to profound hearing loss where hearing aids have become ineffective, your physician may recommend a cochlear implant. These devices are quite different from hearing aids.
A cochlear implant is a small electronic device, with both exterior and interior parts. The interior part, the receiver, is implanted under the skin, and an electrode is inserted into your inner ear (cochlea). The exterior part is a sound processor. These two parts work together to rehabilitate the function of a person’s inner ear by stimulating the hearing nerve directly. In most cases, this can drastically improve your quality of hearing.
The BAHA uses an implanted post in the mastoid bone to send sound directly into the bone of the skull. Sound travels in the skull and will be picked up by the hearing nerve directly. Patients that have lost their sound conducting mechanisms but maintain properly functioning hearing nerves are good candidates for this device. Patients that have lost hearing in only one ear (single sided deafness) and maintain normal hearing in the other ear are also candidates for this device. The BAHA is not an option for most people who require hearing aids but rather for the above indications.