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The ears form one of the human sensory organs, whereby they serve not only to perceive sounds, but also as an equilibrium organ. The structure of the ear is divided into three areas: outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Each of these areas has special functions, the interaction of which enables auditory perception. Ear cartilage, auricle, earlobe and the outer ear canal form the outer ear. The sound waves are captured via this and at the same time the source of the noise (front, back, side, etc.) can be located. In the middle ear - consisting of the eardrum, the tympanic cavity and the ossicles, anvil, hammer, and stirrup - the incoming acoustic stimuli are further processed using the so-called mechanical impedance conversion and transmitted to the inner ear. In addition, the middle ear is connected to the pharynx via the Eustachian tube, which enables pressure equalization. In the inner ear, the transmitted acoustic signals are finally converted into nerve impulses with the aid of the hearing snail. In addition, the equilibrium organ is located here, which perceives changes in position and movements or the associated changes in gravitational force.
A wide variety of diseases can affect the individual sections of the ears, whereby, for example, bacterial and mycogenic infections are increasingly to be found in the area of the outer ear, which are associated with corresponding external ear infections (otitis externa). The most common disease of the middle ear is otitis media, which is divided into otitis media acuta (acute otitis media) and chronic otitis media (chronic otitis media). Also, injuries to the eardrum due to extreme sound effects are not a rare complaint in the area of the middle ear. Increased noise exposure over a longer period of time can also cause damage to the inner ear, which is associated with permanent impairment of the hearing. Sometimes the inner ear is also affected by various viral infectious diseases (e.g. measles and mumps). In addition, there is the complaint of the so-called sudden hearing loss, in which a sudden loss of hearing - often in connection with ringing in the ears and dizziness - can be determined. The causes of this sound sensation disorder remain unclear to this day.
Overall, the ears are an extremely sensitive organ, which can be significantly affected by both mechanical and pathological influences and, in the worst case, sustains permanent damage. In particular, it is imperative to avoid permanently high levels of sound pollution in terms of ear health or hearing. You should also react immediately to the first signs of infection or inflammation to prevent serious consequences. A visit to a specialist is strongly recommended here. (fp)