Hearing loss might arise from problems in the middle ear. The middle ear is the portion of the ear that extends from behind the eardrum to the front of the oval window of the cochlea. The common problems of the middle ear are:
Middle ear infection produces selling of middle ear lining. It is often accompanied by formation of pus. With fluid accumulating in the middle ear, the ossicles could not act properly resulting in hearing loss.
Middle ear infections are generally treated with antibiotics. Decongestants are at times used to clear the blockage. Myringotomy might be required to drain the fluid formed in the middle ear. It is a procedure of draining the pus by forming a small perforation in the eardrum. The holes in the eardrum are largely mended naturally. Surgery to repair the hole is needed only when the natural mending process does not occur.
Infection is not always the reason behind fluid formation in the middle ear. Poor functioning of the Eustachian tube is largely responsible for accumulation of fluid in the middle ear, a condition commonly known as glue ear. The function of the Eustachian tube is to maintain the air pressure in the middle ear at the same level as the pressure in the ear canal and the outer atmospheric pressure. If due to some reason, such as allergy or inflammation, if the Eustachian tube is unable to open up when we are swallowing or yawning, the air trapped in the middle ear cannot move out. The trapped air is gradually absorbed into the blood stream, forming a vacuum in the middle ear. This produces a negative pressure in the middle ear causing retraction of the eardrum. When the negative pressure becomes considerably high, fluid seeps out of the blood vessels present in the middle ear, forming glue ear.
Glue ear can be treated with decongestants and in severe cases, Myringotomy is recommended.
Hereditary reasons, such as, Otosclerosis, causes bone formation around the ossicles, causing hearing impairment. Tumors might develop in the middle ear. Certain birth defects might cause hearing loss. In these cases, surgical procedures are carried to cure the condition.