otology: external, middle & inner ear

overview

While the ear is one part of your body, it’s divided into three separate units: the external, middle, and inner ear. Each part may have its own concerns and require special treatment. The ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists at Aurora are trained to take care of all your ear needs – and get you back to feeling your best.

external ear

The external ear, or outer ear, consists of the pinna (the part seen on either side of the head) and the ear canal (the tube that leads inside the ear). 

Our ear, nose and throat (ENTs) specialists can treat many conditions that affect the external ear, including: 

  • Buildup of pus during an infection (abscess)
  • Collection of blood (hematoma) or clear fluid (seroma) outside the blood vessels
  • A tear or cut (laceration) in the skin
  • Abnormal buildup of earwax (cerumen), which can cause earache, ringing in the ears or hearing loss
  • Foreign object in the ear, which can damage the ear and the eardrum
  • Chronic middle-ear disease (otitis media): recurrent infection that can cause hearing loss, dizziness and balance problems
  • Abnormal skin growth behind the eardrum (cholesteatoma)
  • Conductive hearing loss caused by disorders of the external and middle ear
  • Abnormal growth of the tiny bones that conduct and amplify sound waves (otosclerosis), which causes hearing loss
Get the help you need
At Aurora, we offer a number of different treatments for disorders of the external ear, including:

  • Stapedotomy: improves hearing loss caused by a condition called stapes fixation
  • Meatoplasty/canalplasty: helps enlarge a narrow ear canal, reducing the chance that the canal could become blocked

middle ear

The middle ear consists of the eardrum as well as three small bones (ossicles) that connect the eardrum to the inner ear and vibrate in response to sound. 

Our ENTs can treat many conditions that affect the middle ear, including: 

  • Abnormal skin growth behind the eardrum (cholesteatoma)
  • Fluid buildup in the ear
  • Paragangliomas (glomus tumors): rare noncancerous tumors that grow inside the ear, leading to hearing loss
  • Infections 
  • Abnormal growth of the tiny bones that conduct and amplify sound waves (otosclerosis), which causes hearing loss
  • Hole (perforation) or tear (rupture) in the eardrum 

Get the help you need
At Aurora, we offer a number of different treatments for disorders of the middle ear, including:

  • Glomus tumor resection: removes paragangliomas (glomus tumors)
  • Mastoidectomy: removes infection from the mastoid (the bony part of the ear)
  • Myringotomy: removes fluid or pus from behind the eardrum, relieving pressure inside the ear. For chronic ear infections, surgeons may also place tiny tubes in the ears to allow fluid to drain and help prevent future infections
  • Ossicular chain reconstruction (ossiculoplasty): reshapes or replaces one or more bones in the middle ear (ossicles) to improve hearing
  • Stapedotomy: improves hearing loss caused by a condition called stapes fixation
  • Tympanoplasty: repairs your eardrum (tympanic membrane) or the bones in the middle ear (ossicles)

inner ear

The inner ear contains the cochlea, a bony, fluid-filled organ responsible for hearing, as well as the auditory nerve, which transmits signals from the cochlea to the brain. Also located in the inner ear are the vestibular canals that control a person’s sense of balance. 

Our ENTs can treat many conditions that affect the inner ear, including:
 
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which causes a spinning sensation
  • Meniere’s disease, a condition that causes vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hearing loss
  • Vestibular and balance disorders

Get the help you need
At Aurora, we offer a number of different treatments for disorders of the inner ear, including:

  • Cochlear implant: restores hearing to children and adults with severe to profound sensorinerual hearing loss, which is caused by damage to the inner ear
  • Implantable hearing aids, including bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHAs), which may improve hearing in a person with chronic ear infections or single-sided deafness

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