The ear is a delicate organ that can suffer trauma of varying causes and types. Ear trauma can occur in the external, middle, or inner ear.
External Ear Trauma
External ear trauma is often cosmetic. A medical professional can properly prescribe treatments for these injuries. Common external ear traumas are cauliflower ear, lacerations, or avulsion.
- Lacerations are cuts and are caused by a sharp object coming in contact with the outer ear. Bleeding will likely occur. Lacerations are treated by stopping the bleeding, stitches, if necessary, and disinfecting the area to avoid future infection.
- Cauliflower Ear is an external ear trauma caused by blunt force. This condition occurs when blood flow is cut off by cartilage in the ear. Blood becomes trapped between the perichondrium and the cartilage often causing a purple and unformed mass. To treat, a medical professional will clear the clot in the ear through an incision and prevent the clot from reforming.
- Avulsion is when an ear is completely separated from the body. Reconstructive surgery on the ear will be necessary and one should visit a health provider immediately.
Middle Ear Trauma
Middle Ear Trauma is usually caused by a foreign object entering the ear. The middle ear consists of delicate bones and organs that are easily injured. Middle ear trauma will be evaluated with an otoscope to find the cause. Treatment can range from protecting the ear and allowing it to heal, to surgery.
Inner Ear Trauma
Inner ear trauma stems from severe impacts to the head. It could be from a fall, a car accident, or an assault. When the inner structures of the ear are damaged, the main symptoms involve loss of balance. The inner ear is responsible for communicating with the brain information about the head and its position relative to gravity. When this is damaged, one will have a feeling of falling or being out of balance. This will lead to feelings of dizziness and nausea.