The term otitis hides a variety of inflammatory diseases of various structures of the hearing organ. According to anatomical localization , they are distinguished:
- Otitis media of the outer ear;
- Otitis media – the inflammatory process is localized in the middle ear cavity;
- Labyrinthitis or internal otitis is an inflammation of the inner ear.
In clinical practice, otorhinolaryngology specialists distinguish acute and chronic forms of this disease. So what is the danger of otitis media? With untimely treatment of otitis media, the progression of the disease necessarily occurs with an increase in its severity, subsequently serious complications arise, such as hearing loss or even persistent hearing loss, while restoring hearing becomes impossible. Complications can even be life-threatening, because purulent-inflammatory diseases of the ear can affect the meninges, leading to meningitis and other serious complications.
Otitis media and hearing loss
Most often, otitis leads to damage to the mucous membrane of the outer and middle ear by infectious agents of bacterial or viral nature. The defeat of the hearing organs is primary – when the pathogen penetrates directly into the ear, or secondary, when the infection enters the ear with blood or lymph flow. The etiology of primary otitis is almost always bacteria, and the lesion occurs in the outer or middle ear.
More seriously, the occurrence of labyrinthitis, while it is often caused by viruses, for example, as a complication of influenza.
Hearing loss depends on the localization of the inflammatory process:
- Otitis externa almost never leads to hearing loss. Surface localization does not allow infection to penetrate deep into the ear, and the treatment of otitis externa is accompanied by the use of drugs that have a local effect.
- Otitis media occurs due to the ingress of mucus or other infected fluid into the auditory tube, which communicates the middle ear cavity with the lower nasal passages. In this case, bacteria from the nasal cavity get into the middle ear and begin to develop there, causing an inflammatory reaction and having a toxic effect on the tissues. With untimely treatment, otitis media passes from a catarrhal form to a purulent one, which leads to purulent melting of the eardrum and, in advanced cases, destruction of the auditory ossicles. Due to defects in the eardrum, hearing does not disappear, but the quality of perception of sound information deteriorates significantly.
- Labyrinthitis is a logical continuation of the development of otitis media or a complication of acute viral respiratory infections. In this form of the disease, the cochlea is affected – the neuro-sensory apparatus of the inner ear, which is responsible for converting mechanical sound waves into electrical impulses transmitted to the brain. When the cochlea is affected, persistent neuro-sensory hearing loss or complete hearing loss occurs without the ability to restore hearing after otitis media.
Treatment of otitis media
Therapeutic tactics directly depend on the localization and form of the inflammatory process, as well as on such important parameters as: the age of the patient, the state of the immune system, the presence of concomitant pathology. Treatment can be both conservative and operative, with the use of special surgical methods of treatment.
To begin with, it is mandatory to seek advice and treatment from an otorhinolaryngologist, who will conduct an examination, apply physical research methods and prescribe a diagnostic complex of additional studies to confirm and clarify the clinical diagnosis. Only after that, a full and effective treatment of otitis media is possible. Perhaps the only case when otitis media can be treated without resorting to the help of a specialist is otitis media of external localization. Its clinical picture is not as dangerous as in other forms. With external otitis media, the use of local drugs and folk medicine at home is quite enough for treatment. Pay attention to the deadlines. If you do not see positive dynamics even with the mildest form of otitis media, do not delay and seek specialized medical help.
Basic principles of medical care
In any form of otitis media, first of all, it is necessary to eliminate the focus of the infectious and inflammatory process in order to prevent the spread of inflammation to neighboring areas. The therapeutic complex includes:
- Antibiotic therapy to eliminate the pathogen. This treatment is pathogenetic and allows you to quickly, effectively treat the disease, and also reduces the period of hearing recovery after otitis media. With an unclear etiology of the pathogen, broad-spectrum antibiotics are used.
- Rehabilitation of inflammatory foci. They use purging of the auditory canals, washing of the affected parts of the auditory system.
- Symptomatic treatment aimed at eliminating the symptoms and syndromes characteristic of otitis media. Purulent otitis is accompanied by a high degree of intoxication of the body, fever, general weakness, severe headache and other unpleasant symptoms. Elimination of these symptoms is necessary, various nonsteroidal anti–inflammatory drugs are used for this, and in severe cases of the disease – glucocorticosteroids. Anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers are used both topically and systemically orally or parenterally (intravenously or intramuscularly).
- Supportive therapy aimed at strengthening the immune system and increasing the reactivity of the body to fight infection independently. Immunomodulators, multivitamin preparations are used.
- Physiotherapy and therapeutic specialized massage.
Restoration of hearing after otitis media
An important stage in the treatment of various forms of otitis media is the restoration of hearing with the help of proper and full-fledged rehabilitation of the patient. Physiotherapy procedures, laser and magnetic therapy on the affected ear area, the use of vitamin therapy help to restore hearing after otitis media. The most modern way to restore hearing in uncomplicated forms of otitis media is pneumomassage of the eardrum, which allows strengthening its structure and increasing the regenerative activity of the tissues of the middle ear.
In serious purulent-inflammatory otitis media, when there is a significant defect of the eardrum or auditory ossicles, surgical methods of treatment with bone-plastic surgery on the bones of the middle ear and plastic of the defect of the eardrum are used to restore hearing. These methods help to restore hearing and significantly improve the quality of life of the patient. It should be noted that all reconstructive and restorative measures are carried out only after the complete cessation of acute otitis. Hearing restoration should be carried out as quickly as possible, after treatment of an acute disease, the degree of effectiveness of the measures taken depends on it.
Home methods of hearing restoration
It is very important to restore hearing as much as possible after otitis media in the early period. Doctors recommend sticking to the recovery plan. The successful restoration of hearing depends on the seriousness of the patient’s attitude to his health during the rehabilitation period. Full and regular gymnastics, including exercises to restore hearing, helps to achieve the desired result. This simple procedure can be performed independently at home.
The set of exercises includes massaging the auricles, as well as exposure to low and medium intensity noise. Therapeutic and gymnastic exercises for the ears allow you to tone the muscles of the middle ear, also improves blood flow in the outer and middle ear, which contributes to tissue repair.
How to improve hearing with folk remedies
The people have their own popular methods of restoring hearing after otitis media. But they should be treated with caution and not replace the main treatment and doctor’s recommendations with them. Folk methods are well suited as an additional method of exposure, but before starting the procedures, consult with your doctor.
Ear drops to restore hearing
At home, you can easily and quickly prepare garlic-olive oil and use it for instillation into the external auditory canal several times a day. The oil helps to soften inflamed tissues, and the substances that make up garlic can relieve puffiness and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Similarly, you can use an oil tincture with an extract of propolis and sea buckthorn.
In addition to drops, oil solutions based on various herbs can be used to wet turundum, which are subsequently left in the lumen of the outer ear overnight. Do not forget that the above folk methods are only an addition to the main treatment.
Be attentive to your body and take care of your health!