oto-, ot-, -otic +
(Greek: ear; relationship to the ear)
2. The art of healing diseases of the ears.
"Eustachian tubes" are the passages, one on each side of the throat, which lead to the middle ear. The tubes open widely in the act of swallowing or yawning.
The opening into the throat is situated just behind the lower part of the nose, so that a catheter can be passed through the corresponding nostril into the tube for inflation of the middle ear.
"Valsalva's Manoeuvre", the pinching of the nose with the finger and thumb and attempting to blow hard through the nose, will usually relieve the blockage.
Depending upon which part of the ear is inflamed, there is
- otitis externa (external otitis or "swimmer's ear" is an infection of the skin covering the outer ear and ear canal in which acute external otitis is commonly a bacterial infection caused by streptococcus, staphylococcus, or pseudomonas types of bacteria),
- otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear which is an inflammation that often begins with infections that cause sore throats, colds, or other respiratory problems, and spreads to the middle ear), and
- otitis interna (inflammation of the inner ear, or labyrinthitis, inflammation of the labyrinth, or the maze of canals in the inner ear which are in the portion of the ear that is responsible for sensing balance).
In extreme cases, parasitic otitides cause symptoms, such as loss of appetite, wasting away, and fits.
The human ear serves as both a detector and a generator of sound. Tiny hair cells in the inner ear convert incoming acoustic vibrations into nerve signals, but as the cells move in response to sound waves, they themselves produce faint sounds, which are known as otoacoustic emissions.
By listening to these feeble signals, researchers can study in remarkable detail how the inner ear works. Now, detection of these emissions shows promise as a means of evaluating a wide range of common hearing problems involving damage to hair cells.
The sound source generates either a click or a tone, and the microphone picks up the resulting ear-generated sound. In an ear with normal hearing, the faint output sound is nearly identical to the input sound.
This type of test may prove particularly valuable because many hearing difficulties involve damage to hair cells. Such damage can be caused by exposure to prolonged or excessively loud noises, various drugs, or bacterial and viral infections.
They may remain in the ear for several months before dropping out to pupate and mature. Several records of human infection are known.