Ear Conditions

Our ear, nose and throat specialists can diagnose and treat all conditions related to the ear and eustachian tubes such as ear pressure abnormalities, ear congestion, ear infections, tympanic membrane perforation and surfer’s ear.

Ear Pressure Abnormalities

Most of the time, the pressure in your ear equalizes naturally, but if the eustachian tube (the passageway that connects the middle ear to the back of your nose and throat) is blocked or doesn’t work correctly, you may have muffled hearing or clicking in your ears. This can be caused by allergies, a cold or sinus infection and the patient can suffer dizziness and problems with balance. Our doctors provide expert diagnosis and treatment.

Ear Congestion

Ear congestion often accompanies problems with sinuses, allergies and drainage. The feeling of ear congestion can be irritating, cause difficulty in equalizing the pressure in your ears, and make it difficult to keep your balance. Ear congestion is frequently associated with nasal congestion. It is conceivable, however, to have congestion in the ears but not the nose.

It's helpful to know a little about ear anatomy to understand why patients occasionally have congestion in their ears but not in their nose. The Eustachian tube is a tiny canal that runs between the nose and the middle ear. This canal aids in the regulation of middle ear pressure. If the Eustachian tube becomes blocked or congested, it may stop working properly, resulting in ear congestion.

What symptoms might you see if you have ear congestion? Pressure, stuffiness, and fullness in the afflicted ear are common complaints among patients. Ear pain and difficulty hearing could be signs of a problem in the middle ear or ear canal. The ear, nose and throat specialists at Del Rey MD can accurately diagnose ear congestion and recommend effective treatment.

Ear Infections

When the fluid in the middle ear can’t drain naturally to the back of your throat, it can become infected by bacteria or a virus. The trapped fluid in the middle ear is why most ear infections happen there. Children are more susceptible to ear infections because their eustachian tubes are shorter and less effective at draining.

Tympanic Membrane Perforations

Tympanic Membrane perforation or a perforated eardrum is a hole or rupture in the eardrum. A perforated eardrum is often accompanied by decreased hearing and occasional discharge. The causes of perforated eardrum are usually trauma or infection. Eardrum perforations may heal on their own or may require outpatient surgery. It is imperative to be evaluated by a specialist because treatment depends on each unique case and the severity of the perforation.

Surfer’s Ear

Surfer’s ear is an ear canal condition that can significantly affect normal hearing. Surfer’s ear is caused by repeated exposure to cold water and wind. Cooling of the ear canal stimulates bone growth that narrows the canal and blocks the eardrum. This narrowing traps water and earwax in the canal, often resulting in painful ear infections and hearing loss. It is called Surfer’s Ear because surfers often confront cold water for much longer periods of time than most swimmers.

Typically when the hearing is significantly decreased, surgery is recommended to remove the bone that has built up. Dr. Sigari of Del Rey MD achieves this surgery all through the ear canal which replaces the traditional incision behind the ear, hence the term incision-less surfer’s ear surgery. The advantages for the patient are less exposure to noise during surgery that can damage hearing, more rapid healing and a faster return to water sports. This is an important aspect for patients who suffer from surfer’s ear, as they often lead active lives and fast recovery is paramount.

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

A passageway called the eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the back of your nose and throat and equalizes the pressure in your ear. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked and doesn’t work correctly, you may have muffled hearing or hear clicking in your ears. Also, if fluid in the middle ear can’t drain naturally to the back of your throat, it can become infected. If you suffer any condition in which you feel uncomfortable pressure in your ears or pain, schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. These conditions can worsen quickly, so it’s best to be seen right away.