Types of Problems

Otology problems range from the very common ear infections (acute otitis media), to profound sensorineural hearing loss which may require cochlear implantation to related problems such as dizziness and vertigo. Ear related problems may be diagnosed at or shortly after birth and can be diagnosed and rehabilitated at virtually any age. Comprehensive diagnosis, medical management, and surgical intervention may be provided depending upon the problem. 

Acute otitis media, or ear infections, occurs in at least 75% of children. 
Most children are treated with antibiotics but occasionally children require myringotomy to diagnosis or treat an ear infection. Children with frequent ear infections may benefit from tube insertion. 

Chronic otitis media with effusion is persistent fluid in the middle ear space for more than two to three months. This can result in hearing loss, damage to the eardrum, and speech and language delay. Occasionally, surgical intervention with tube placement is needed. Adenoidectomy also may be useful. 

Sensorineural, or nerve deafness occurs in 2-4 of every 1,000 children born. The diagnosis is oftentimes made shortly after birth by infant hearing screening programs. Comprehensive diagnostic testing is available through the ACH Audiology Department. Medical diagnosis is made by Dr. Dornhoffer¹s team of otologists and pediatric otolaryngologists. Intervention may include hearing aids, auditory trainers, or cochlear implantation for severe cases. Speech therapy, both diagnosis and treatment, is also available. 

Conductive hearing loss may occur from middle ear effusion or from an inborn abnormality or acquired problem with the eardrum or middle ear bones. After diagnosis, patients can be rehabilitated with bone anchored hearing aids, a medically implanted device which optimizes hearing. Many patients can be improved with procedures Dr. Dornhoffer has pioneered. 

Cholesteatoma is small skin cyst which grows in the middle ear. These masses can slowly expand and destroy ear bones or the inner ear system. They result in chronic infection and typically do not respond to medical management. Dr. Dornhoffer and the team typically perform a tympanomastoidectomy to remove the cyst and rebuild the hearing mechanism. 

Dizziness, or vertigo, is uncommon in children and can be related to a variety of underlying problems including inner ear damage, small ear tumors, seizures, migraines, and a variety of other problems. Diagnosis is made by a variety of tests provided through the Arkansas Children¹s Hospital team. 
Medical management includes dizziness in the vast majority of patients, while rare patients undergo surgery.