Vancouver ENT Ears, Nose, and Throat ENT Clinic of the Northwest
Ears Nose Throat
October 31, 2008
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Otology (Ear Surgery)


OtologyThis subspecialty involves diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the various structures of the ear as well as disorders of the special senses of hearing and balance. Common problems are listed below.

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Acute middle ear infections (Acute Otitis Media)

More common in children under three years of age due to the Eustachian tubes being shorter and more horizontal than in adults. Symptoms may include ear pain, fussiness or trouble sleeping, decreased hearing, fever, and in severe cases discharge of pus or mucus from the ear. Acute infections begin in the middle ear when the Eustachian tube becomes blocked due to allergies, upper respiratory infection (colds or sinus infections) or swelling of the adenoids. Many acute ear infections occur in the absence of these problems and may be caused by either viruses or bacteria.

Chronic middle ear infections (Chronic otitis media)

This condition results from acute episodes of otitis media that fail to improve on their own or after treatment with antibiotics. Chronic otitis media is considerably more likely to result in permanent damage to hearing. Depending on the specific problem, treatment will likely require antibiotics, surgery or both.

Facial nerve disorders

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Facial paralysis, twitching, or weakness may be symptoms of a facial nerve disorder. Facial nerve disorders may result from infection, tumors or injury to the head or face. For example, one cause of facial nerve disorder occurs when the facial nerve swells when infected with a virus. If the swelling continues, the facial nerve, which runs through a bony canal, might be compressed and suffer partial loss of its blood supply. This kind of facial nerve disorder is most commonly the cause of Bellís palsy. Facial nerve disorders require immediate attention, in order to correctly diagnose and treat the problem, so that long term weakness or paralysis might be avoided.

Reconstruction of eardrums and middle ear bones

Tympanoplasty, or reconstruction of the eardrums and middle ear bones, is a one day surgery. If the eardrum has been ruptured, the physician will use the patientís own tissue to repair the eardrum. During the procedure, if the physician notices damaged to the middle ear bones, these can be repaired at the same time.


Commonly confused with dizziness, vertigo is the sensation of movement when no movement actually occurs. Vancouver Ear, Nose, and Throat have the ability to perform almost all needed testing to diagnose and treat vertigo. If MRI or CT, and/or blood testing is needed, we will refer you to the closest, convenient facility capable of providing this service.


The experience of hearing a high-pitched ringing, buzzing or a noise that no one else can hear is called tinnitus. This disorder is common to most Americans. It is not usually a serious problem, just an annoyance. Tinnitus may be the cause of waxy build up or blockage within the ear. It may also be the result of damaged nerve endings within the ear. Today, the most common cause is loud music, firearms or other recurrent loud noises. After a physician carefully evaluates the cause of the tinnitus, the physician may be able to treat it. Also, some forms of tinnitus may go away on their own, while the patient may have to learn to live with other untreatable forms of tinnitus.

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