Ear disorders are one of the most common causes of pain in young children and infants, but they can affect older people, too. If you’re concerned about your ears or your child’s, the expert doctors at Flagstaff Surgical Associates can help. At their practice in Flagstaff, Arizona, the experienced doctors provide advanced treatments for ear disorders, including Eustachian tube balloon dilation and ear tubes. Call Flagstaff Surgical Associates today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.

How do my ears work?

The outer ear is the part you can see, which channels sound waves into your middle ear. Your eardrum (tympanic membrane) vibrates when the sound hits it, and the vibrations travel through little bones (ossicles) in your middle ear.

When the sound waves reach your inner ear, your nerves create impulses and send them to your brain. Your brain can then interpret the nerve impulses as sound. The whole process happens almost instantly.

As well as being essential for hearing, your inner ear also plays a vital role in balance. Dizziness and vertigo are symptoms of inner ear disorders, making you feel that everything around you is moving or your head is spinning.

What are ear disorders?

Ear disorders can affect any of the main parts of your ear, causing hearing problems and affecting how well you balance.

Some of the most common types of ear disorders are ear infections, which are typically very painful. Ear infections are particularly common in babies and young children.

Other types of ear disorders include tinnitus, which causes phantom noises in your ears, and Meniere’s disease, which causes dizziness.

Other ear disorders Flagstaff Surgical Associates sees regularly include:

Eustachian tube dysfunction


Eustachian tubes connect your middle ear to your throat. If they get blocked, your hearing can become muffled, and your ear feels painful and full.

Tympanic membrane perforation

The tympanic membrane is better known as your eardrum. Perforations (TMPs) can happen because of infections or other diseases, or trauma from loud noises or objects poked into the ear. Symptoms include hearing whistling sounds, getting lots of ear infections, and a degree of hearing loss.

Chronic otitis media (COM)

Chronic otitis media is an infection of the middle ear that can happen when you have a tympanic membrane perforation. Symptoms include hearing loss, otorrhea (discharge), and pain. Some people who have COM also develop a mass called a cholesteatoma.

Otitis externa

Otitis externa is an infection in your outer ear and ear canal. Swimmer’s ear is a common example of an outer ear infection.

How are ear disorders treated?

Treatments for ear disorders can vary depending on the cause of your condition. Some of the treatments Flagstaff Surgical Associates uses include:

Ear tubes

Ear tubes help to keep air flowing through your middle ear, equalize pressure, and enable fluid drainage. They’re effective for treating a range of ear disorders, including chronic otitis media and Eustachian tube dysfunction.

Balloon dilation

Balloon dilation involves using a slim tube called a catheter to put a small balloon into your nose and down to the Eustachian tube. Your provider inflates the balloon, allowing air and mucus to flow again. Flagstaff Surgical Associates uses the advanced Acclarent Aera® Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation System.

If you or your child has an ear disorder, call Flagstaff Surgical Associates today or book an appointment online.