Disorders of the Ears

Tampa General provides a complete spectrum of diagnostic, treatment and management services for acute and chronic ear disease, all causes of hearing impairments, tumors and cysts, infections, and balance and dizziness problems as well as full audiology and vestibular testing services for both adults and children.  Common conditions treated at TGH include:

Acoustic neuroma – A non-cancerous growth that begins in the nerve that carries hearing and balance sensation from the ear to the brain. This slow-growing tumor eventually fills the ear canal and, if untreated, can cause life-threatening damage to the brainstem. The optimal treatment is surgical removal of the tumor.

Cholesteatoma – A cholesteatoma is an abnormal cyst or pouch in the middle ear, usually caused by repeated infections. Over time, a cholesteatoma can cause deafness and even life-threatening complications. Treatment involves surgery to remove the cyst and infection, followed six to 12 months later by another operation to check for any residual cholesteatoma, to reconstruct the middle ear, and to restore hearing, if possible.

Mastoiditis – Infection of the mastoid bone, a honeycomb-type structure that is part of the skull behind the ear. Unchecked, mastoiditis can lead to deafness and life-threatening complications. The first line of defense is antibiotics, but mastoidectomy may be required to clean out the infection and, if necessary, tympanoplasty to repair a damaged eardrum.

Meniere’s disease – A disorder of the inner ear characterized by dizziness, hearing loss, and ringing or noises in the ear. It is caused by an imbalance of fluid in the inner ear and is thought to be an immune or inflammatory response. The condition is usually treated with medication, but when medicine doesn’t work, an option can be surgery to relieve pressure in the ear, remove a faulty balance organ (the labyrinth), or partially or completely remove a balance and/or hearing nerve.

Chronic otitis media – An ongoing infection or inflammation of the middle ear, usually affecting children. A persistent condition can lead to hearing loss and other serious complications. Treatment includes surgery, called a typanoplasty, to repair the eardrum and hearing bones. This procedure is sometimes combined with mastoidectomy to remove the diseased tissue. Another procedure, a tympanostomy or myringotomy, involves inserting a small metal or plastic tube in the affected ear to ventilate it and prevent buildup of pressure and fluid.

Otosclerosis – A condition characterized by abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, which limits the transmission of sound vibrations through the ear. Left untreated, this condition can lead to total deafness. The surgical option is a stapedectomy, in which the stapes, a spongy bone in the middle ear, is replaced with a prosthesis that transmits sound waves to the inner ear.