Ear traumas are not uncommon in modern reality. First of all, this is due to the vulnerability of the external part of the body. The attitude of the person to his own health and personal safety also matters. It should be noted that a number of injuries can lead to very serious consequences – surgical removal of the outer part, complete or partial hearing loss.
Injuries to the ear (according to the ICD – International Classification of Diseases) are primarily divided into varieties according to the location of the lesion:
- the inner ear;
- middle ear;
- external ear.
I must say that the damage to the outer ear has the least negative consequences for life and health, rather than injuries to the internal and secondary. The latter is most often accompanied by a craniocerebral trauma or fracture of cranial bones.
The inner and middle ear are often traumatized simultaneously. Such damage is divided into two types:
- Straight lines. As a rule, this damage is caused by some pointed object inserted into the ear canal.
- The cause may be a severe blow to the head or pressure drop.
Classification By Negative Impact
The next is the type of external impact. Here, the following damage to the auditory organ is noted:
- Contusions, trauma with a blunt object.
- Wounds – cuts, torn and punctured injuries.
- Burns – thermal and chemical.
- A foreign object enters the ear canal.
- Baropovrezhedniya caused by pressure drop.
- Acoustic injuries of the ear – due to the impact of superstrong sound on the tympanic membrane.
- Vibration damages. They are caused by strong air fluctuations, which, for example, are triggered by some large production units.
- Damage during exposure to any radiation.
For each of the groups of injuries according to the ICD, there is a certain symptomatology, methods of treatment and diagnostics. Therefore, consider these categories in more detail.
- 1 Damage To the Outer Ear
- 2 Damage To the Inner Ear
- 3 Damage to the Middle Ear
Damage To the Outer Ear
The most common ear trauma is:
- Bites of animals, bruises, wounds.
- Frostbite and burns.
- Contact with the auricle of dangerous, corrosive substances.
Rarer are immediate damage:
- Including a strong blow to the area of the lower jaw.
- Foreign body entry.
- Knife, shot, fragmentation wound.
- Burns steam, corrosive liquid, chemical.
The consequences of such negative impacts are as follows:
- Damage to the cartilaginous tissue of the auricle. This leads to a partial or complete separation.
- Formation of a hematoma at the site of exposure.
- Hit the blood clots under the outer cartilage.
- Loss of healthy skin tone, anatomically correct form.
- Dying of damaged tissue.
Symptoms of External Ear Damage
For each type of ear, the injury will be its own symptomatology.
Damage by a blunt object:
- Deformation of cartilage.
- Development of a hematoma with a serious injury.
- Visually conspicuous wound.
- Discovery of bleeding.
- Deterioration of hearing.
- Visible clots of blood on the auricle, in the ear canal.
- Deformation of the external part of the organ.
- The initial stage is pale skin.
- The second stage is the redness of the skin.
- The last stage is the unnatural “dead” skin color.
- Redness of the skin.
- Exfoliation of the upper skin.
- In severe form – carbonization of tissue.
- With a chemical burn, the boundaries of the lesion are clearly visible.
Pain is typical of all forms of damage, partial loss of hearing.
Diagnosis of External Ear Injuries
As a rule, to determine the trauma of the external ear, it is sufficient for a specialist to have a visual examination of the victim. In some cases, a more detailed examination is needed to ensure that other parts of the organ or adjacent tissues are not injured. The following procedures are carried out:
- Hearing test.
- Otoscopy (or a microtoscope).
- X-ray examination of the lower jaw joint.
- X-ray of the temporal zone.
- Study of the vestibular organ (inner ear).
- Endoscopy in case of damage to the ear canal. Determines whether there are clots in it, foreign bodies.
If the trauma is accompanied by a concussion, then a neurologist’s consultation is necessary.
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Ear injury has occurred. What to do? If the wound is shallow, the first aid should be provided to the victim himself:
- A cut or scratch is treated with iodine, alcohol solution, hydrogen peroxide.
- A sterile bandage is applied to the damaged area.
In case of other injuries, the procedure is as follows:
- Severe bruise. It is necessary to consult a specialist – there is a risk of developing a hematoma. When it is opened, the infection can be introduced, which leads to inflammation in the ear canal, cartilage tissue.
- Deep wounds. Requires surgical intervention, suturing.
- A detachment of the auricle. The organ turns into a sterile cloth, placed in a jar with ice. Sewing the sink back is necessary within 8 hours.
Damage To the Inner Ear
Injuries of the inner ear are considered the most dangerous of all, as they are accompanied by injuries to the skull, its base. Here you can distinguish two types of damage:
- Cross fracture of the skull. Often it is accompanied by a trauma to the ear membrane. It leads to serious problems with hearing, down to total deafness. In such traumas, spinal fluid can flow out through the auditory meatus – the cerebrospinal fluid.
- The longitudinal crack of the skull. Also passes close to the wall of the tympanic membrane, can manifest as hemorrhages. If the drum part of the facial canal is damaged, the movement of the facial muscles is impaired. But the vestibular function with such a trauma does not suffer. Most often, the damage makes itself felt by the discharge of blood clots from the ear canal.
Longitudinal cracks in the medical environment have a more favorable prognosis than transverse cracks. The latter can result in the following consequences for the patient:
- Paralysis of facial musculature.
- Violation of the functions of the vestibular apparatus.
- Facial paresis.
- The so-called “vestibular attack” on the intervening nerve. It is fraught with a violation of the function of the taste buds.
Here, acoustic ear trauma is highlighted. They, in turn, are divided into two categories:
- Super-strong power sound, affecting the human ear, even during a short period of time, can lead to serious consequences. There is a hemorrhage, temporary loss of hearing. However, after resorption of the hematoma, auditory functions are restored.
- The long-term impact on the membrane of super-strong sound. Most often observed in production conditions. Receptors in humans are constantly in a state of overwork, which leads to further development of hearing loss.
Negative effects also have thermal damage to the inner ear – exposure to hot steam or water. Further, it is possible to open a hemorrhage (due to bursting blood vessels), rupture of the tympanic membrane. In rare cases, it is completely destroyed.
There are also injuries to the inner ear. Most often, they are associated with an attempt to clean the acoustical passage from sulfur with a pointed object. It may also be a consequence of a medical error – an incorrectly performed operation on the middle ear.
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Symptoms of Inner Ear Damage
Symptoms of ear trauma are interrupted here by the manifestation of the consequences of craniocerebral injury. The victim notes the following:
- Noise in the damaged ear, and in both organs.
- Often such force that a person can not restrain himself on his feet. It seems to him that the world around him revolves around him.
- Loss of hearing (sensorineural hearing loss).
Diagnosis of Injuries of the Inner Ear
It is impossible to single out a wide variety of methods. Two, but true and accurate – magnetic resonance and computed tomography are used.
Treatment of Injuries of the Inner Ear
Natural recovery without medical intervention and medicines is typical only for the case of acoustic damage. At a craniocerebral trauma, the hospital treatment of an ear trauma is shown. The victim is placed in the department of neurology, neurosurgery. In parallel, he is assisted by an otolaryngologist.
When the patient’s condition is stabilized, a surgical operation is performed to restore the normal anatomical structures of the inner ear. As for the auditory function, in some cases, an auditory hearing is required.
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Damage to the Middle Ear
Self-injury of the middle ear is a rather rare phenomenon. Most often it suffers together with the internal one. The most common cause of damage to the middle ear is the so-called barotrauma. It causes a sharp pressure drop outside and inside the tympanic membrane. Observed at takeoff/landing of the aircraft, climbing the mountain heights, a sharp immersion in the water.
The consequences of barotrauma can sometimes be eliminated by the injured person. Restore normal breathing in the ear will help strong exhalations with a clamped nose and a completely closed mouth. However, this “therapy” is contraindicated in patients with acute respiratory viral infection, influenza. When blown into a Eustachian tube, pathogenic microorganisms will enter.
Barotrauma can lead to the development of aeration (damage to the Eustachian tube), which, by the way, is a professional pilots disease. It is characterized by painful sensations in the ear, a decrease in hearing, a violation of vestibular functions.
There are also the following injuries:
- The concussion of the tympanic membrane.
- Rupture of the tympanic membrane. It also happens with a sharp drop in pressure and failure to provide first aid for baro damage.
- Penetrating wound.
If the infection penetrates into the wound, then the middle acute otitis develops.
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Symptoms of Middle Ear Injuries
The signs of damage are as follows:
- hearing impairment;
- nystagmus – spontaneous rotation of eyeballs;
- noise in the head;
- the opening of a bleeding;
- violation of vestibular functions;
- in rare cases – excretion of pus.
Diagnosis of Middle Ear Injuries
The following methods are distinguished:
- audiometry – an estimation of acuity of hearing;
- A test with a tuning fork on the perception of individual tones;
- threshold audiometry;
- tomography of temporal bones.
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Treatment of Injuries of the Middle Ear
The tympanic membrane is characterized by enhanced regeneration – perforation is fully delayed in 1.5 months. If this does not happen, then it is “helped” by cauterization of the edges, laser or plastic micro-operation.
The injuries are treated with antiseptics. It prescribes the removal of accumulated pus, blood (in rare cases, surgically), the use of antibiotics. In severe injuries, hearing care is necessary.
The damage to the ear is marked by a large number, as we see from the classification. Each species is distinguished by a special diagnosis suitable for it, methods of treatment.
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Health Counselor and Primary Care Physician by profession, I have 12 years experience in primary health care services. Years of practical experience in women’s health care & ANC services and study have gained me a lot of knowledge on several health issues and I wish to share these medical advice and suggestion through this blog.