The ability to perceive sounds is called hearing. The organ called ear is responsible for the sense of hearing. It is an engineering marvel because it can transduce sound vibrations with amplitudes as small as the diameter of an atom of gold (0.3 nm) into electrical signals 1000 times faster than the photoreceptors that are present in the eye respond to light. The ear also has a vestibular system that contains receptors for equilibrium which help to maintain balance and make one aware of his/her orientation in space. 

The ear is divided into three principal regions:

  • The external ear which collects sound waves and channel them inside
  • The middle ear which function to convey sound vibrations to the oval window
  • The internal ear which has the receptors for the sense of hearing maintaining equilibrium

The external ear: It consists of the auricle also called pinna, external auditory canal and eardrum also called tympanic membrane. Near the external opening, the exyernal auditory canal contains a few hair and specialized glands called ceruminous glands. These secrete cerumen or commonly known as earwax. The hair and cerumen together prevent dust and foreign objects from entering the ear. 

The middle ear: It contains three auditory ossicles (little bones) through which sound travels. The anterior wall of the middle ear contains an opening that leads directly into the auditory tube or pharyngotympanic tube, commonly known as Eustachian tube. It connects the ear with nasopharynx (superior portion of the throat). 

The internal ear: It also called the labyrinth because of its complicated series of canals. The two main structural divisions are: 

  • The bony labyrinth which is a series of cavities and is again divided into 3 areas: the semicircular canals, the vestibule and the cochlea. The organ of Corti is a part of the cochlea and is the receptor for hearing. It is a spiral organ that contains a coiled sheet of epithelial cells, including supporting cells and approximately 16000 hair cells that are receptors of hearing. The vestibular system is responsible for the sense of balance. It operates constantly while we are awake and communicates to the brain the head’s orientation and changes in the head’s motion. This helps to generate muscle contractions that helps to voluntary control our body in space. Also it helps to fix the visual world in the retinas even when the head is moving while nodding. Vestibular dysfunction leads to destabilization of images and gives a feeling that the world is uncontrollably moving around which is called vertigo. 
  • The second is the membranous labyrinth which is surrounded by the bony labyrinth
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Finding Best Treatments

NOTE: Above More accurate treatment cost estimates can be provided if medical reports are emailed to us or after the patient is examined by doctors after arrival at hospital in India and medical tests are done after admission.

Frequently asked questions about Ear

What are the conditions associated with Ear?

Middle ear infections, external ear infections, tinnitus- ringing sound in the ear, torn eardrum, excess wax production affecting hearing, menieres disease-fluid problems in the inner ear.

What the different audiological tests?

Pure tone audiometry test to check for the softest sound patient can hear. Weber and rinne test is a bone conduction test using a vibrating tuning fork.Word recognition test(word in noise test) to check the ability of the patients hearing a speech from background noise.  A fluid is detected or wax build up, perforated ear drum, ossicle bone damage or tumors in the middle ear can be detected by Tympanometry test. The carnial nerves and brainstem are evaluated by acoustic reflex testing.

When should I see an ENT for ear pain?

An individual that undergoes loss of hearing, ear infection, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), disorders that affect balance, or pain in the ear and birth defects.

What will an ENT do for ear infection?

The physician may confirm the infection from the history and physical exam and prescribe an antibiotic and pain medicationsand fever medications if necessary.  To drain the fluid from the middle ear and remove the pus is done sometimes by surgical drainage also knows as tympanostomy. This incision heals in a couple of weeks generally.

How long do ear infection last?

Middle ear infections repair by themselves within two or three days, without any particular treatment. An infection may last longer (fluid in the middle ear for 6 weeks or longer), in a few cases even after the treatment by antibiotics.Outer ear infections may last for a week or two. inner ear infections last long often several months.

What are common ear problems?

Ear infections of outer, middle or inner ear, glue ear(common in children) middle part of the ear becomes sticky with a glue like  liquid, ear congestion (also as known as popping)due to cold,flu, sinuses, travel. Foreign object in the ear. Ear wax, tinnitus, mastoiditis, perforated eardrum, Meniere’s disease, otosclerosis(three tiny bones of the ear are affected)

Can ear problems affect the brain?

Meningitis, brain abscess and other neurological complications can be a cause of ear infection.

Which antibiotic is best of ear infection?

Moxil (amoxicillin)

Augmentin (amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate)

Cortisporin (neomycin/polymxcin b/hydrocortisone) solution or suspension.

Cortisporin TC (colistin/neomycin/thonzonium/hydrocortisone) suspension.

What ear drops are good for ear infections?

The only eardrops one should use for bacterial infections, are the antibiotics ofloxacin (Floxinotic and generic) or the more pricey combination drug ciprofloxacin-dexamethasone (Ciprode)

What is cochlear implant surgery?

A small electronic device which partially restores hearing is the cochlear implant. Cochlear implant surgery is quite common and performed under general anaesthesia. The specialist sometimes shaves the area of hair around the incision site, they make a small incision right behind the ear. The implant is placed beneath the skin and the electrode is inserted within the inner ear as an option when hearing aids do not provide the clarity of sound needed.

Who are the right candidates for cochlear implant surgery?

Following patients those that:

Adults elder than 18 years with moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss.

Severe to profound sensorineural loss inn children aged 2-17 years.

Profound sensorineural loss in children 9-24 months.

People who face issue understanding speech even with apt fitting hearing aids.

Are willing to and have someone to support and help them or close one understand sounds and speech.

What is the best treatment for hearing loss?

Cochlear implants or bone-anchored hearing aids are suggested in few cases. A few types of hearing loss can be repaired with surgery, involving defects of the drum or bones of hearing.

Can hearing loss be cured by surgery?

Surgery for sensorineural loss (nerve pathways that connect the inner ear to the brain are damaged)surgery for otosclerosis. Either the part of the stapes(abnormal bone growth in the ears) with the abnormal bone growth is removed in order to insert a tiny implant (stapedotomy), or the entire stapes bone is replaced by a small prosthesis (stapedectomy).

What are the types of hearing loss?

Conductive Hearing Loss

Loss of hearing due to a cause that does not permit sounds from getting through the outer or middle ear.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Loss of hearing which happened because of issues in the way the inner ear or hearing nerve operates.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Loss of hearing that involves a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss.

Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder

Hearing loss that happens when sound travel to the ear normally, but due to the damage to the inner ear or the hearing nerve, sound is not organized in a way that the brain can understand

Hearing loss can also be described as:

Unilateral or Bilateral

If the loss of hearing is in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral).

Pre-lingual or Post-lingual

Loss of hearing either occurred when an individual learned to talk which means pri-lingual or after a person learned to talk which means post-lingual.

Symmetrical or Asymmetrical

Equal loss of hearing in both ears (symmetrical) or varies in each ear (asymmetrical).

Progressive or Sudden

Loss of hear that gets bad over the time known as progressive or occurs quickly that is sudden.

Fluctuating or Stable

Loss of hearing gets better  with time or worse over time (fluctuating) , and that which stays the same over time is stable.

Congenital or Acquired/Delayed Onset

Loss of hearing since birth that means congenitalor occurs sometime later in life is acquired or delayed onset.

What are 4 levels of deafness?

Mild (21–40 dB)

Moderate (41–70 dB)

Severe (71–95 dB)

Profound (95 dB).

The patient will not be able to hear sounds that are softer than the given ranges.

What are the best hospitals in India for ear infection treatment?

Gleneagles global hospitals, Aster medical tourism hospitals, Fortis hospitals, Apollo Hospitals.

Recent Articles

Ear pain is one of the most common complaints but it can surface due to many reasons. Most commonly it occurs due to cold since the eustachian tube(middle ear) connects the middle ear to the back of the nose blocking the eustachian tube which can lead to middle ear infections or changes in pressure causing ear pain.

Otitis media is middle ear infection which occurs due to the blockage of the eustachian tube due to cold,respiratory infection or allergy. It is common in children than adults as adults have a bigger eustachain tubes.

Otitis externa generally called as swimmer ear is the inflammation or infection of the outer ear(pinna) and ear canal.

Meniere’s disease: in this single side inner ear malfunctions.

Acoustic neuroma: Tumor that grows on the nerve travelling form ear to the brain.

Tinnitus is a ringing sound in one or both ears which can be due to exposure to loud sounds, head injuries, excess wax or ageing

Ruptured eardrum: it can get perforated due to loud noises, foreign object in the ear, middle ear infections, trauma to the head or rapid pressure changes may be during air travel.

Cerumen(ear wax) impaction: Overproduction of ear wax can get hard and block and adhere to the eardrum. The ear drums vibrations are reduced affecting hearing.

Mastoiditisis the infection of the mastoid bone located just behind the inner ear. It can stem from untreated middle ear infections

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo(BPPV): Malfunction in the inner ear causes vertigo 

Cholesteatoma: benign skin growth that develops in the middle may be congenital or developed due to repeated middle ear infections. 

The common symotoms related to a ear condition are: pain tinnitus, vertigo, hearing loss.

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