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Treatments & Procedures: Ears

The treatment for ear infections may include any of the following:

  • If your doctor thinks the infection is caused by bacteria, he or she may prescribe an antibiotic. (Antibiotics don't work for infections caused by viruses.) It's very important to follow the directions when giving your child the medicine.
  • Pain relievers like acetaminophen (brand names: Tylenol) and ibuprofen (brand names: Children's Advil or Children's Motrin) can help make your child feel better and reduce fever. Never give your child aspirin, as it has been linked to Reye's syndrome.
  • A warm (not hot) heating pad held over the ear can also help relieve pain from the earache.
  • Ear drops to relieve pain are sometimes prescribed.

Hearing Loss Treatments:

Both age-related and noise-related hearing loss tend to be permanent. Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, your doctor may recommend a hearing aid or an implant to improve your ability to communicate with others. A hearing aid amplifies sounds electronically and is effective for many people with age-related hearing loss. Newer digital technology has produced smaller, more powerful devices. A cochlear implant is a device that translates sounds into electrical signals that can be carried by the eighth cranial nerve to the brain.

Certain other forms of hearing loss may be treated medically or surgically:

  • Otosclerosis — For mild cases, a hearing aid is usually the first option. In severe cases, one of the small bones is surgically replaced with a tiny piston-like prosthesis.
  • Acoustic neuroma — Treatment includes surgery or highly focused radiation therapy.
  • Meniere's disease — There is no cure. Some people with this disease improve with a personalized diet plan (such as limiting intake of salt, caffeine or alcohol), quitting smoking, or medications to reduce fluid retention in the ear. In some cases, surgery may be considered.
  • Traumatic hearing loss — A damaged eardrum can sometimes be repaired surgically by using tough, fibrous connective tissue (muscle fascia).
  • Drug-induced hearing loss — Stopping the problem medication may reverse hearing loss or prevent it from getting worse.
  • Sudden sensorineural hearing loss — In most cases, when the cause is unknown, this condition is treated with steroids.
  • Other — A dense plug of earwax can be dissolved or gently removed from your ear canal by your doctor; also, antibiotics can treat hearing loss caused by ear infections.
The Surgery Center of Charleston The South Carolina Sinus Institute