What is Otology?

Otology is the branch of medicine that deals with the study of the ear and its pathologies. It constitutes a part of Otolaryngology, a discipline dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of pathologies of the ear, nose, and throat. The peculiarity of the ENT specialist is that, unlike the otolaryngologist, he does not deal with pathologies of the nose and throat, but specializes exclusively in physiology, functionality and ear pathologies. Otology is a branch of Medicine and Surgery, and, therefore, the specialist otolaryngologist is also trained to perform surgical interventions.

 

What Pathologies Does It Treat?

Otology deals with ear problems and, therefore, also with hearing and balance problems. The ear plays a fundamental role in balance, in the feeling of dizziness and dizziness. Therefore, among the pathologies most frequently treated in an Otology study are the following:

  • Otitis or ear infections: they are very common, especially in infants and children.
  • Tinnitus or tinnitus: distorted perception of sounds or constant whistle that does not allow you to hear clearly.
  • Barotrauma: A barotrauma in the ear is an injury caused by changes in barometric pressure (air) or water.
  • Menière pathology: it is a common cause of dizziness and dizziness due to fluid problems in the middle ear. Usually, it also causes tinnitus.

What Are The Sub-Specializations Of Otology?

Otology studies the ear, being a sub-discipline of Otolaryngology. Nonetheless, every professional can specialize in a specific pathology or in a part of the ear (outer, middle and inner ear), such as, for example, damage to the eardrum or surgery of the middle ear.

When Is It Necessary To Consult An ENT?

It is necessary to consult an ENT specialist when you experience hearing loss, pain, or discomfort in the ear, as well as dizziness or lightheadedness.

What Is The ENT Examination?

The ENT examination serves to assess the health of the nose, ears, pharynx, larynx, and other internal structures in the head and neck.

Patients who turn to the otolaryngologist want to ascertain the nature and origin of different types of symptoms, such as the stuffy nose, sore throat, stuffy ear, ringing, dizziness, and others.

The most common diseases that can be diagnosed by the otolaryngologist are otitis, tinnitus, deafness, rhinitis, sinusitis, nasal polyps, snoring and sleep apnea, tonsillitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis.

Since the organ of balance is located in the ear, the otolaryngologist is also the doctor of reference for disorders such as heeling sensations, postural uncertainty, and dizziness.

The ENT examination is also an important check for the prevention of tumors that can affect the vocal cords, pharynx, larynx, nasal cavities, and salivary glands.

How Does The Ent Examination Take Place?

The ENT examination begins with an anamnesis: the otolaryngologist inquires about the patient's lifestyle, his habits, any diseases or pharmacological treatments in progress, and the symptoms he manifests.

The otolaryngologist then proceeds to palpate the neck and inspect the oral cavity, eardrum, ear canal, and inside the nose. At this point, the doctor may suggest the patient undergo more accurate tests such as the audiometric test or the impedance test.

How to prepare for the ENT examination?

The ENT examination does not require any specific preparation. The patient is advised to bring with them the list of any ongoing drug therapies.

Ears And Hearing

Otitis refers to inflammation of the ear. Depending on the place of the affected ear, and the time of evolution, we have different types of otitis:

  • External otitis

The Otitis Externa is the skin infection of the ear canal. They mainly occur in summer, in connection with swimming in swimming pools, seawater, and eczema of the skin or wounds due to scratching or manipulation of the ear. These infections cause pain, usually severe pain, plugging of the ear, and sometimes suppuration from the ear and hearing loss.

The treatment is very simple and consists of three basic measures that are

  1. Keep ear dry
  2. Aerate the ear
  3. Twice daily drops of ciprofloxacin and hydrocortisone
  • Acute otitis media

Acute Otitis Media is an infection of the middle ear that usually occurs following a respiratory illness and is especially common in children up to the age of 5 years in these infections are sometimes suppuration of the ear through a perforation of the eardrum that usually closes spontaneously.

Treatment is based on anti-inflammatory drugs and an amoxicillin-type antibiotic that should be prescribed for ten days, every 8 hours.

  • Serous otitis media

It is not an infection, but inflammation in the middle ear, with fluid accumulation in that sector of the ear. The cause is the immaturity of the Eustachian tube, which can sometimes be accompanied by adenoid vegetations.

They are especially relevant in children since they can go unnoticed and are responsible for hearing loss and repetitive acute otitis media.

When the fluid is maintained over time, a small surgery may be necessary, which involves the placement of a transtympanic tube.

  • Chronic otitis media

It is an inflammatory process of the middle ear, which has months of evolution and a tendency to leave sequelae, such as a tympanic perforation and/or the presence of a cholesteatoma (a benign tumor that must be resected by surgery)

The way to suspect this type of otitis is those people who have a history of constant suppuration of the ear.

Earwax

Ear wax, also called ear wax, is made by the body to protect the ears. The wax has both lubricating and antibacterial properties. Most of the time, old wax moves through the ear canal through movements such as chewing and other movements of the jaw, and as the canal skin migrates from the inside out.

What does it mean when the wax is transformed into a stopper?

We say that a wax plug is formed, the earwax blocks 100% of the ear canal. For most people, the ears will never need to be cleaned – they are designed to clean themselves. The use of cotton swabs the only thing it does is push the wax into the ears and can also cause injuries to the ear.

How is the earwax plug treated?

The earwax plug must be removed; there are different ways of extraction:

  • Ear wash. It consists of using a syringe with warm water, gently irrigating the ear canal, and removing the plug by dragging
  • Remove wax manually using special instruments – this should only be done by a medical professional who can use a wax spoon, forceps, or a suction instrument
  • The placement of cerumenolytic solutions (solutions that dissolve the wax) in the ear canal, such as baby oils, and hydrogen peroxide, do not remove the plug but instead soften and macerate it, facilitating its subsequent extraction.