The ear is divided into three parts: 1. The outer ear, meaning the part of the ear you can see on the side of the head plus the ear canal leading down to the ear drum 2. The middle ear, meaning the ear drum, ear bones (ossicles) and the air spaces behind the ear drum and the mastoid cavities 3. The inner ear, meaning where the nerve endings are for the organs of hearing and balance (equilibrium). It is the middle ear that causes discomfort during air travel, and this is so because it is an air pocket inside the head that is vulnerable to changes in air pressure. Normally, each time (or each 2nd or 3rd time) you swallow, your ears make a little click or popping sound. This is the moment that a small bubble of air enters your middle ear, up from the back of your nose. It passes through the Eustachian tube, a membrane-lined tube about the size of a pencil lead which connects the back of the nose with the middle ear. The air in the middle ear is constantly being absorbed by its membranous linin...
Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. While there are different types of ear infections, the most common is called otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum.
The term "acute" refers to a short and painful episode. An ear infection that lasts a long time or comes and goes is called chronic otitis media .
For links to other types of ear infections, see otitis.
Otitis media - acute; Infection - inner ear; Middle ear infection - acute
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
For each ear, a eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat. This tube drains fluid that is normally made in the middle ear. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up. When this happens, germs such as bacteria and viruses can multiply and cause an infection.
Ear infections are co...
Dr. I have throat pain, hoarseness and an earache that won't go away. I do suffer from heartburn. Can the throat and ear pain be a result of GERD?
While it is not uncommon for gastroesophageal reflux disease to cause sore throat and hoarseness as well as ear pain and even ear infections, other more serious conditions need to be excluded. You can try maximizing treatment of acid reflux with twice a day proton pump inhibitors. If your symptoms resolve completely, then it is likely a result of gastroesophageal reflux. If however, they persist, then evaluation with an ear nose and throat physician to rule out throat cancer is recommended.
I have been taking Aciphex for acid reflux and have developed severe headaches. Can I try other proton pump inhibitors?
All of the proton pump inhibitors (Aciphex, Prevacid, Protonix, Nexium, Prilosec, Zegerid and Omeprazole) have about a 5% incidence of causing headaches. If one of the drugs causes headaches, it doesn't mean that th...
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