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Various types of ear diseases and conditions may afflict the ear, the most common of which is an infection of the middle ear. This is especially common in children, and may be caused by a virus or bacteria. The inner ear is most vulnerable to disease, and one condition known as Meniere's disease may cause increased pressure leading to hearing loss. The vestibular nerve can become inflamed due to an inner ear infection, and this may cause a disease known as vestibular neruritis. Deafness or loss of hearing is an ear disease that may be congenital or acquired.
Some individuals who have contracted the virus that causes chicken pox may also develop infection of the ear. This occurs when the virus spreads to the inner ear, causing damage to the nerves. Herpes Zoster Otitis is one of the diseases that may cause several symptoms, including fever, ear pain and dizziness. Hearing loss may also be a common symptom of this disease.
Autoimmune ear diseases may cause significant hearing loss. One such disease is known as autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED). This occurs when the body's immune cells mistake the nerves of the inner ear for foreign invaders and attack them. An ear specialist known as an otolaryngologist, often referred to as an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT), can diagnose this disease and prescribe treatment.
One of the most common types of ear diseases is known as swimmer's ear. This is generally caused by a fungal infection. This condition is called swimmer's ear because many individuals develop this infection by frequent swimming. Often, this condition may be treated with over-the-counter remedies, such as a solution of boric acid and ethyl alcohol. An eyedropper generally works well in administering the solution into the ear.
Ear mites have been known to cause disease by invading the ear canal. The ear canal will slough dead skin cells regularly, which ear mites may thrive on. This condition is seen most commonly in dogs and cats, although in extremely rare cases humans may become afflicted by this parasite.
Other types of ear diseases may include polyps inside the ear canal or a condition known as cauliflower ear. Cauliflower ear causes deformity of the outer ear and typically occurs after being struck in the ear. Damage to the ear cartilage may cause the outer ear to develop a crumpled or bumpy appearance. When polyps develop in the ear canal, recurrent ear infections or allergies may be the cause.