We evaluate and treat a variety of hearing and balance conditions
At Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute (JHBI), we are trained to treat disorders of the ear and temporal bone. Although surgery may be required, many problems are managed by specific medical treatment. Below we describe some of the more common problems that may be treated medically:
Hearing loss: When hearing loss is first noticed, an evaluation should be performed to find its cause. Slow-onset or gradual hearing loss, changing or fluctuating hearing loss, and sudden or quickly progressing hearing loss are some of the more common types of hearing loss that may benefit from medical treatment. It is important to understand that sudden or rapid-onset (over seconds to days) hearing loss should be evaluated as soon as possible.
Ear wax: Also known as cerumen, ear wax is a normal substance made by special glands within the ear canal. Ear wax build-up is a common problem that affects individuals of all ages that may be treated in the office.
Outer ear infections: Commonly referred to as ‘Swimmer’s ear,’ outer ear infections can actually occur in many individuals, not just in those who swim or are around water. Many patients experience symptoms (such as ear drainage, itching, pressure, or fullness – a heavy feeling). Medical management, including careful examination and ear cleaning in the office, are important for effective treatment.
Middle ear infections and fluid: Although children are generally more prone to middle ear fluid and infections, these problems can occur in all age groups. Many people have hearing loss and sometimes even drainage of liquid from the ear. Medical therapy can be effective in a number of cases.
Ear pain: Pain in the ear can arise from a number of causes. In some cases, the ear pain is actually a result of a problem in another part of the body (such as the throat, neck, or teeth). A complete evaluation is important to determine the cause of ear pain.
Dizziness: Often described as a feeling of unsteadiness, abnormal movement, or imbalance, dizziness is a common problem affecting many people. Vertigo, which is often related to head or body position, is a sense of spinning or rotation and should be distinguished from dizziness. In many cases, the ear may be the source of both dizziness and vertigo; appropriate medical treatment is frequently beneficial. Benign positional vertigo is a common problem that may be treated in our office with the Epley maneuver.
Ear trauma: Whether caused by a loud noise, a hit to the ear, or a cotton swab pushed into the ear, injury (also known as trauma) to the ear should be evaluated and treated.
Facial weakness: Any drooping or weakness of the face, gradual or sudden, should be evaluated as soon as possible. Bell’s palsy is only one cause of facial weakness and must be sorted out from other causes. Since the nerve responsible for movement of the face actually travels through the ear, oftentimes ear problems can be linked to facial movement problems.
Ear noise: Referred to as tinnitus (pronounced tin-uh-tiss), ear noise can be the result of any number of problems related to the ear. Ear noise can be described as a buzzing, ringing, hissing, crackling, and even as a heartbeat sound. Medical evaluation and treatment is helpful in many cases.
Injection therapy: Some ear problems respond to injections of various medications into the middle ear space through the eardrum. This is readily performed in our office for a variety of conditions.