6 common ear health conditions

There is more to ear health than hearing loss. You use your ears every day, so it is no wonder your health can waver from time to time.

Some ear related medical conditions can affect your hearing significantly.

It’s important to ensure that we do everything right to maintain, protect and enhance our health, especially our hearing.

Here we have highlighted some ear related medical conditions.


A condition where there is abnormal bone growth around one of the small bones inside the ear, the stapes. This leads to the stapes bone being unable to move. If the stapes cannot move freely, then the hearing system is unable to function properly. This condition generally results in a conductive hearing loss. Treatment of otosclerosis relies on two options: hearing aids and/or surgery. Hearing aids are often a very successful option for clients who have otoscelrosis. The surgical option is called a stapedectomy and is performed by an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist). 

Menieres Disease 

A condition where there is an excess of fluid in the inner ear. The excess fluid disturbs the balance of the ear and results in symptoms of dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears, fluctuating hearing and a feeling of pressure inside the ear. Currently there is no known medical cure for Meniere’s. The condition can however be managed to some degree through medication, diet, stress reduction, exercise programs, natural therapies and as a last resort, surgery.

Ear Infections 

Most commonly an inflammation and infection of the middle ear (otitis media). The most common cause of an ear infection is bacteria, or a virus, that enters the ear when you have a cold, flu, allergy or breathing problem. Once inside the ear, the infection spreads to the middle ear and results in ear redness, itchiness, discharge from the ear, a blocked feeling, ear pain, dizziness, fever and hearing loss. In most cases an ear infection is treated initially with antibiotics.

Swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) 

Another common ear infection that results in inflammation of the ear canal between the ear drum and the outer ear. Causes include water in the ear canal, mechanical damage due to overzealous cleaning, dermatitis or chemical irritation inside the ear canal.

Blocked ears 

Generally the result of a build-up of wax inside the ear canals. The wax is produced by small glands inside the ear, and it plays an important role in waterproofing and the protecting the skin inside the ear canal. Usually ears are self-cleaning, and wax works its way out of the ear canal by itself. 

The amount of wax you produce depends on a number of factors including diet, age, skin condition, anxiety levels and anatomy of the ear canal. As you age, gland secretion becomes less oily, and this results in drier and harder wax that gets stuck in the ear canal. Earwax in the wrong place can cause even the best hearing aids to function badly or not at all. If you produce excessive earwax, you can have your ears cleaned by a nurse or doctor.

Pressure differences 

Occur when the tube that runs from the nose to the ear becomes blocked and causes an imbalance of air in the outer part of the eardrum, compared to the middle ear. This condition is experienced by a majority of people when they change altitudes through activities like scuba diving, driving in mountainous areas and flying. Symptoms can include dizziness, pain and discomfort in one or both ears, loss of hearing and feelings of stuffiness and fullness in the ears.

If you’re experiencing any of the above hearing conditions, consult your GP, or contact your local bloom hearing specialists clinic.