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What is Otology?
Otology is a subspecialty of otolaryngology which focuses on the diseases of the ear and connecting structures. Otolaryngologists are the only medical specialists who deal with some of the disorders listed below. Otolaryngologists diagnose, treat, sometimes prevent and educate in the following areas:
Hearing loss is extremely common in Canadian society. Otolaryngologists can check hearing tests, treat hearing loss with surgery, or recommend hearing aids. They can counsel and treat tinnitus (noise in the ears), which often occurs with hearing loss. Childhood hearing loss, which can be present from birth, is also treated by otolaryngologists. Cochlear implants can be used for severe loss in both ears.
Balance and Vertigo Disorders
These disorders can cause spinning attacks and chronic imbalance. Some are treated with surgery, others with rehabilitation
Facial Nerve Disorders
The facial nerve moves the face and injury can cause drooping of the face, for instance in Bell’s palsy. These are sometimes treated with medication or surgery.
Recurrent ear infections are common in childhood, and in cooperation with other doctors, otolaryngologists will often treat these conditions with medications or surgery.
Tumours of the Ear or Ear Nerves
Tumours arising from the ear or from the nerves that go to the brainstem from the ear (such as acoustic neuroma) are often treated by otolaryngologists.
Pain around the ear can be from many sources. Otolaryngologists will try and identify the cause and / or refer the individual to the appropriate specialist(s).