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Ears & Hearing Aids

Woamn with an ear infection

Ear Infection

There are three basic classifications of ear infections, and they depend on the location of the infection within the ear.

Middle Ear

The most common ear infection occurs in the middle ear and is referred to as otitis media. Middle ear infections are caused when the eustachian tube, which runs from the middle ear to the wall of the area behind your nose, does not function correctly. It normally acts like a vacuum for the middle ear space, but if it doesn’t function correctly, air can throw off the balance of the middle ear’s air pressure. Middle ear infections can also be caused if bacteria from an upper respiratory infection travels to the middle ear. Middle ear infections can be treated with antibiotics and decongestants can aid in reestablishing normal middle ear pressure.

Inner Ear

Otitis interna, or an infection of the inner ear, occurs when a virus or bacteria causes the inner ear’s structures to become inflamed. Symptoms of an inner ear infection differ from those of a middle ear infection; while you may still have pain, you may also experience a severe disturbance in balance, hearing loss, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Inner ear infections can be treated with steroids, antibiotics, or antiviral medication, depending on the cause of infection. Dizziness symptoms can be managed with medications until the infection is resolved. Inner ear infections can occur suddenly and are easiest to resolve if they’re treated early.

Outer Ear

Otitis externa, an outer ear infection, occurs when debris in the ear canal causes it to become infected. Common external ear infections are caused by bacteria and fungi, which can cause pain, swelling, and itching. These infections can be treated by an ENT with drops or other medications that can be applied directly into the ear canal. It is imperative to keep the ear canal dry when treating an outer ear infection.

Ear Infections in Children

It is more common for children to suffer from ear infections than adults. This is partially because children’s immune systems are still developing and are not as equipped to fight off infections. It’s also because the eustachian tube, which is angled downward in most adults, runs more straight in children. This means gravity can’t help as much in removing fluid from the middle ear if the child acquires an upper respiratory infection or other issue that would cause fluid to accumulate. The adenoids can also become enlarged as they filter bacteria from the body. These bacteria can easily be passed from the adenoids to the middle ear.

Hearing Test

If you are having a hard time hearing high-pitched or soft sounds, or it is difficult to hear when there is background noise, then you may benefit from a hearing test. The experienced team at Family Ear, Nose & Throat includes certified audiologists who can test your hearing and examine your ears for any problems.

What is a Hearing Test?

A hearing test is a comprehensive evaluation of your hearing and ears. A hearing test will allow us to diagnose any signs of hearing loss, its severity, the cause of the problem, and will help us find a treatment option.

At Family Ear, Nose & Throat, we offer the following hearing tests:

  • Pure Tone Audiometry
  • Speech Audiometry
  • Tympanometry
  • Auditory Function Tests
  • Bone Conduction Test
  • Auditory Brainstem Response
  • Otoacoustic Emissions
  • Electrocochleography
  • Central Auditory Processing Evaluation

Your audiologist will start with the basic hearing tests, pure tone audiometry, speech audiometry, and, in some cases, tympanometry. Then they will decide if you need additional specialized tests, depending on the results of your basic testing.

What We Offer

ENT Healthcare Services

Our relationships with patients are unmatched. We work with both primary care physicians and other specialists in our communities, allowing for a wide variety of treatment options for our patients. As the world of medicine is constantly evolving, we strive to keep our commitment to our patients.

We offer a full range of services for:

Office Locations

Family ENT Kittery Office

Kittery Location

35 Walker Street, Suite 200 KitteryME 03904

P 207-475-0100
F 855-654-3271

Monday-Friday: 8AM-5PM
Saturday-Sunday: Closed

Office Locations

Portsmouth Location

14 Manchester Square, Suite 210 PortsmouthNH 03801

P 207-475-0100
F 855-654-3271

Monday-Friday: 8AM-5PM
Saturday-Sunday: Closed

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