Hearing Disorders

Swimmer’s ear

Swimmer's ear, also called external otitis or otitis externa, is an infection of the ear canal. The most common cause of this infection is bacteria that affect the skin inside your ear canal. Swimmer's ear typically involves discomfort. Drainage from the ear may also be present.

Otitis media

Also known as a middle-ear infection, otitis media is a bacterial or viral infection that affects the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear. Otitis media may be associated with hearing loss, ear pain and fever. Sometimes otitis media has no symptoms at all.


Mastoiditis is a bacterial infection of the mastoid bone, which typically occurs after acute otitis media. Symptoms include redness, tenderness and swelling that pushes the ear forward.

Ménière's disease

Ménière's disease involves a combination of symptoms, including vertigo (spinning sensation), hearing loss, tinnitus (a roaring, buzzing or ringing sound in the ear) and a sensation of fullness in the affected ear. While its cause is not known, scientists suggest this rare disease could be a result of changes in the fluid in the tubes of the inner ear. It is also suggested that Ménière's disease is caused by autoimmune disease, allergies or genetics. There is no cure, but treatment can help relieve symptoms.


(koh-LEST-ee-a-TOE-ma) An abnormal skin growth behind the eardrum, cholesteatoma often develops as cysts or pouches that shed layers of old skin, which build up inside the middle ear. Over time, the cholesteatoma can increase in size and cause damage to the surrounding delicate bones of the middle ear, leading to hearing loss. Surgical intervention is required to remove the abnormal skin growth and restore hearing.

Eustachian tube dysfunction

Eustachian tube dysfunction occurs when the Eustachian tube is blocked or does not open properly to ventilate the air-filled middle-ear space. Symptoms can include muffled or dulled hearing, a feeling of fullness in the ear, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ear) and dizziness.

Ruptured eardrum

A hole or tear in the eardrum, also known as tympanic membrane perforation, can be the result of trauma, injury, otitis media or otitis externa. There may or may not be drainage from the ear. Many eardrum ruptures heal quickly without intervention. However, sometimes medical intervention is required to promote healing. An examination by an otolaryngologist (ENT physician) will ensure appropriate care and proper healing.

Microtia and atresia

Microtia is a birth defect resulting in a deformity of the external ear, or pinna. Atresia is absence or underdevelopment of the ear canal and middle-ear structures. Microtia and atresia often occur together because the outer ear and the middle ear develop together in the womb. Microtia and atresia often result in either conductive or mixed hearing loss. Children with microtia and atrsia should be treated by an ENT and audiologist to ensure any hearing loss is managed appropriately.