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What Are the Different Types of Inner Ear Problems?

The inner ear can develop an acoustic neuroma, with accompanying dizziness.
Medical help may be required to treat inner ear problems.
Common inner ear problems include infections.
Article Details
  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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The inner ear can be prone to the development of a number of conditions that can be painful and cause major hearing loss. The most common of these is presbycusis, or hearing pain associated with aging. Other common inner ear problems are related to infection, such as viral and bacterial infections. While bacterial infections typically can be completely cured, viral infections can, in some cases, cause permanent hearing loss. Non-cancerous tumors, known medically as acoustic neuromas, is another inner ear problem that can be quite serious if left untreated. This condition often requires surgery and radiation in order to treat completely.

One of the most common types of inner ear problems is presbycusis, which is also known as hearing loss related to aging. In this condition, sounds and speech may become harder to decipher because they seem slurred. Typically, this condition is caused by both a decrease in function of hair cells in the inner ear, as well as a significant slowdown of the nerves that bring information related to hearing to and from the brain. In most cases, a hearing aid is the most effective treatment for this condition. Early recognition and treatment may be able to prevent excessive hearing loss caused by aging.

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Another common condition that can lead to inner ear problems is labyrinthitis. This condition typically occurs as a result of a bacterial infection of the ear, though it may also be due to an upper respiratory disorder. As with other types of bacterial infections, treatment with antibiotics is essential to completely cure labyrinthitis. Typically, once the bacterial infection is treated, hearing will be restored.

In some cases, a viral infection can lead to inner ear problems. The most common types of infections linked to inner ear hearing loss or other similar problems include mumps, measles, the flu, or even chickenpox. Infections caused by these conditions affect the inner ear, destroying hair and nerve endings. Often, any hearing loss associated with these types of infections are permanent.

Acoustic neuroma is a type tumor that is non-cancerous, and which develops in the inner ear canal. The most common symptoms of acoustic neuroma include hearing loss, dizziness, and ringing in the ears. Surgery is often essential to remove the tumor, along with radiation therapy. When left untreated, an acoustic neuroma can result in increased pressure on the brain, resulting in a life-threatening situation. Those who think they may have developed an acoustic neuroma should seek medical help as soon as possible.

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browncoat
Post 3

If your child seems to be complaining of an inner ear infection you should go and get it treated. It might seem like that kind of childhood complaint that they will simply get over, and maybe they will, but a young child in particular is in a lot of danger from that kind of infection. Lots of kids still lose their hearing permanently because they had a treatable condition that wasn't seen to.

They try to test babies for hearing conditions when they are young for a reason. If your infant isn't developing speech properly, or you have any reason to suspect there's something wrong with her hearing, take her to an expert right away. In most countries there is a service which can test your child's hearing for free, or for a very cheap price.

indigomoth
Post 2

@Iluviaporos - I've heard that those kinds of inner ear symptoms are associated with musicians as well. Not only loud rock musicians, but also the folk who play classical music.

I have a friend who plays the drums and he refuses to do it without earplugs in because he's determined to keep his hearing.

He also wears them to concerts, which actually seems like a good idea regardless of the long term benefits. Whenever I go to a concert I always hear ringing in my ears for hours afterwards which can be really uncomfortable.

I have nothing but sympathy for people who might have that kind of symptom for the rest of their lives.

lluviaporos
Post 1

My sister works as an audiologist which is like an optometrist but for ears and she has told me one of the main things that causes damage to the inner ear is people listening to really loud music with ear buds.

I've never liked ear buds anyway, because I find them very uncomfortable, but they can apparently be very dangerous as well.

Since they are so small, they direct all the sound directly into the ear drum. The kind of ear phones which have a pad that sits over the ear tend to diffuse the sound so that it's not so bad.

The inner ear is always getting worse and worse as you get older, but she has seen people in their 50s and 60s with almost no hearing left because they've been listening to loud music all their lives. They can also develop a permanent ringing in their ears.

These sorts of inner ear disorders can't really be fixed once they happen, so the most you can do is try to prevent them by using the right kind of earphones and turning the volume down.

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