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Posts for: June, 2021

By West Texas Ear, Nose, Throat and Sinus Institute
June 25, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Perforated EardrumA perforated or ruptured eardrum occurs when a hole or tear develops in this flap of skin in the ear. Since a perforated eardrum can lead to hearing loss or leave your ear susceptible to infection, you must be able to recognize the signs of a perforated eardrum so you can turn to an ENT doctor right away. While a perforated eardrum will often heal on its own without treatment, it is still best to see your doctor.
 
What causes a perforated eardrum?
 
One of the most common causes of a perforated eardrum is a middle ear infection, which can cause the eardrum to rupture due to a buildup of fluids that puts pressure on the eardrum. Sometimes a ruptured eardrum can occur due to pressure changes in the atmosphere as compared to the air pressure in your ear. When there is a severe imbalance, such as can happen while flying in an airplane or scuba diving, the eardrum may rupture.
 
Head trauma, injury or objects being placed in the ear, and even loud noises also have the ability to rupture an eardrum.
 
What are the warning signs and symptoms of a ruptured eardrum?
 
If you have an ear infection chances are fairly good that you are dealing with a lot of pain, pressure, and fullness in the ear. You may even have muffled hearing as a result. If the pressure builds up and you don’t see a doctor for treatment this can cause the eardrum to burst. When the eardrum bursts you may notice instant relief from pain. You may also notice that the pressure goes away and that the ear starts to drain. There may even be pus present in the fluid that’s draining from the ears. Sometimes there is blood.
 
It is not uncommon to have changes in hearing as a result of the ruptured eardrum; however, with the proper care and treatment, the hearing should return once the eardrum has fully healed.
 
How long does a perforated eardrum take to heal?
 
It can take a couple of weeks and even up to a couple of months for the eardrum to heal. Certain factors may slow the healing process. It’s important not to get the ear wet and to protect it from further injury while it is healing. You may also need to visit your ENT doctor regularly for checkups until the eardrum has fully healed.
 
If you are showing signs of a perforated eardrum, don’t wait to turn to your ear, nose, and throat doctor for care. Protect your hearing and your health by turning to an ear, nose, and throat doctor who can determine the best course of action.

By West Texas Ear, Nose, Throat and Sinus Institute
June 11, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
 Itchy EarIf you are someone who swims regularly or lives in a warm climate, then you may be at an increased risk for developing a fungal infection in the ear that’s known as otomycosis. This fungal infection can impact one or both ears. Some signs that you could be dealing with otomycosis include itchy, flaky, swollen, and red skin of the ear. You may also experience ear drainage, fullness, or a loss of hearing. Discharge is incredibly common with fungal infections. If you notice these symptoms, it’s a good idea to see an ENT doctor.
 
How can you get otomycosis?

Your environment, your lifestyle, and your habits can play a role in whether you may be more at risk for developing otomycosis. As you know, fungus is everywhere, and it can be easy to pick up a fungal infection in warm or tropical climates. This is why your ENT doctor also sees a rise in fungal ear infections during the summer months.

If you swim in water that is contaminated, you could also leave with a fungal infection. Those with chronic health problems, eczema, or a weak immune system are at a much higher risk for developing otomycosis. If you develop itchy, red skin of the ear, or you notice changes in hearing or fullness in the ears, you must see a qualified ENT doctor as soon as possible. After all, fungal infections will not usually go away on their own without treatment.
 
How is a fungal ear infection treated?

First, we will need to examine the inside of your ear using an otoscope. We may also need to swab the area to determine whether the infection is bacterial or fungal. This is important as this will determine which medication will be most effective. We will also ask you questions regarding your symptoms, when they started, and your medical history.

Once we have determined that the ear infection is fungal, we will clean out the ears and then prescribe an antifungal medication. This medication may be in the form of a pill, ointment, or eardrops. While eardrops and ointment are more common treatment options, your otolaryngologist might prescribe an oral antifungal if you have a more severe or unresponsive fungal infection.
 
Since fungal ear infections have the ability to become chronic, you must turn to an ENT doctor right away to find out the best way to treat this infection.