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This information was reviewed and approved by Cameran Collins, PA-C (11/1/2018).

What are common medical terms for ear health and ear problems?

  • Acute otitis media – common ear infection of the middle ear space

  • Adenoidectomy – surgery to remove the adenoids

  • Analgesic – a pain relief medicine

  • Antibiotic – a medicine that stops the growth of bacteria

  • Audiometer – a device used to measure hearing for pure tones and speech

  • Bacteria – organisms that cause most ear infections, in addition to viruses

  • Chronic otitis media – persistent middle ear inflammation which can damage the eardrum or hearing bones

  • Decibel – the unit of measure for sound intensity

  • Earwax (cerumen) – waxy substance produced in the outer part of the ear canal to protect canal skin

  • Effusion – a collection of fluid that may contain bacteria

  • Myringotomy – an incision made into the eardrum

  • Otitis media without effusion – swelling of the middle ear lining without fluid buildup

  • Otitis media with effusion – fluid in the middle ear without ear infection symptoms

  • Otitis media with perforation – a tear in the ear drum resulting from a middle ear infection

  • Otoscope – a device that helps examine the ear

  • Perforated eardrum – a hole or tear in the eardrum, often caused by an infection
  • Recurrent otitis media – three ear infections in three months, four in six months, six in 12 months

  • Swimmer’s ear – an infection in the outer ear caused by bacteria in trapped water in the ear canal

  • Tinnitus – ringing in the ears (clicking, humming, buzzing) caused by damage to the hearing nerve commonly caused by age and loud noises

  • Tympanostomy tubes – small tube inserted in the eardrum to help drain fluid, mucus and pus

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