Our ears have two primary functions: to help us hear and to help us maintain our
balance. Patients of all ages can experience ear problems including infections, eardrum ruptures, and other chronic conditions.
Ear Treatments at South Florida ENT Associates
At SFENTA, our ear specialists can provide the latest treatment options to help correct issues with the ears. We also offer state-of-the-art surgical procedures to help correct complex and chronic conditions. No matter the condition, we’re ready to help address it.
The inner ear has circular canals that contain fluid which helps keep you balanced. For patients who have been experiencing trouble sitting or standing upright, feeling as though they may fall, or leaning more to one side, a balance test can offer an insight into why this may be occurring. Several different tests can help find the root of your balance issues and provide a path for treatment.
Ear Hygiene & Wax Removal
Ear hygiene is an essential part of maintaining your overall health, but it can be challenging to find the right balance. Overcleaning can lead to infections or ruptures, and under-cleaning can clog the ears to the point of making it difficult to hear. SFENTA providers offer wax removal services and ear cleaning to help you maintain healthy ears.
Repair of Eardrum Perforation
Repeated infections, trauma, or injuries to the ears can lead to small punctures or tears known as perforation. In some cases this can heal on its own, but in other cases a surgical repair will be needed. Our surgeons at SFENTA can use a skin graft or tissue to patch the hole.
Surgical Treatment of Chronic Ear Infections
Chronic ear infections are a common condition for both adults and children, and can present symptoms that affect daily life. When ear infections become chronic, they can cause constant ear pain and may no longer respond to medication. SFENTA offers surgery to help stop chronic ear infections for good.
When the fluid in our ears is unable to drain correctly, it can create pain, inflammation, and chronic ear infections. Ear tubes can be inserted into the ears to help relieve these symptoms. The tubes are small metal or plastic pieces that are surgically placed by a doctor, which will provide lasting relief for several months. After this time, the tubes will fall out naturally and the hole will close on its own.
Surgical procedures offered by SFENTA can help patients create both functional and cosmetic changes. Our highly-skilled surgeons can help soften or reshape certain features, leading to an improvement in facial balance and harmony. We also offer surgical procedures to correct functional difficulties, including trouble breathing through the nose, which may be caused by a deviated septum.
Why Choose SFENTA?
Our goal is to help patients throughout Miami improve their health and find long-term relief from their symptoms. We offer patients an unmatched network of board-certified physicians who have years of experience diagnosing and treating ear conditions. SFENTA also has an in-house audiology staff who can offer hearing testing and treatment as needed to help patients treat their ear conditions while simultaneously improving their hearing.
What is Dizziness?
Dizziness can be described in many ways, such as feeling lightheaded, unsteady, or giddy. Vertigo is a type of dizziness experienced as an illusion of movement of self or the environment and is usually unpleasant. Others experience dizziness associated with motion sickness, a nauseating feeling brought on by the motion of riding in an airplane, on a roller coaster, or aboard a boat. Dizziness, vertigo, and motion sickness all relate to the sense of balance and equilibrium. Your sense of balance is maintained by a complex interaction of the following parts of the nervous system:
- The inner ears (also called the labyrinth), which monitor the directions of motion, such as turning, rolling, forward-backward, side-to-side, and up-and-down motions.
- The eyes, which monitor where the body is in space (i.e., upside down, right side up, etc.) and also directions of motion.
- The skin pressure receptors in the joints and spine, which tell what part of the body is down and touching the ground.
- The muscle and joint sensory receptors, which tell what parts of the body are moving.
- The central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), which processes all the bits of information from the four other systems to make some coordinated sense out of it all.
The symptoms of motion sickness and dizziness appear when the central nervous system receives conflicting messages from the other four systems.
What Causes Dizziness?
Circulation: If your brain does not get enough blood flow, you feel lightheaded. Almost everyone has experienced this on occasion when standing up quickly from a lying down position. But some people have light-headedness from poor circulation on a frequent or chronic basis. This could be caused by arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, and it is commonly seen in patients who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high levels of blood fats (cholesterol). It is sometimes seen in patients with inadequate cardiac (heart) function, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), or anemia (low iron)
Certain drugs also decrease the blood flow to the brain, especially stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine. Excess salt in the diet also leads to poor circulation. Sometimes circulation is impaired by spasms in the arteries caused by emotional stress, anxiety, and tension.
If the inner ear fails to receive enough blood flow, a more specific type of dizziness occurs, that is vertigo. The inner ear is very sensitive to minor alterations of blood flow and all of the causes mentioned for poor circulation to the brain also apply specifically to the inner ear.
Vertigo: Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, and Ménière’s syndrome (fluctuating hearing usually in one ear, pressure in the ear, ringing in one ear, and attacks of spinning), and some forms of migraine are all causes of vertigo. BPPV occurs when you change the position of your head (typically lying down or sitting up), while inner ear infections can cause labyrinthitis.
Injury: A skull fracture that damages the inner ear produces a profound and incapacitating vertigo with nausea and hearing loss. The dizziness will last for several weeks, and then slowly improve as the normal (other) side takes over.
Infection: Viruses can attack the inner ear and its nerve connections to the brain. This can result in severe vertigo, but hearing is usually spared. However, a bacterial infection such as mastoiditis that extends into the inner ear will completely destroy both the hearing and the equilibrium function of that ear. The severity of dizziness and recovery time will be similar to that of a skull fracture.
Allergy: Some people experience dizziness and/or vertigo attacks when they are exposed to foods or airborne particles (such as dust, molds, pollens, dander, etc.) to which they are allergic.
Neurological diseases: A number of diseases of the nerves can affect balance, such as multiple sclerosis, syphilis, tumors, etc. These are uncommon causes, but your doctor will think about them during the examination.
How Will My Dizziness Be Treated?
The doctor will ask you to describe your dizziness and answer questions about your general health. Along with these questions, your doctor will examine your ears, nose, and throat. Some routine tests will be performed to check your blood pressure, nerve and balance function, and hearing. Possible additional tests may include a CT or MRI scan of your head, special tests of eye motion after warm or cold water or air is used to stimulate the inner ear (ENG—electronystagmography or VNG—videonystagmography), and in some cases, blood tests or a cardiology (heart) evaluation. Your doctor will determine the best treatment based on your symptoms and the cause of them