Reviewed by Dr. Ramakrishnan

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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