There are many conditions associated with ear health. Some common examples are:

1. Conductive hearing Loss

Hearing loss due to an issue in the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear.


Difficulty hearing is the most common symptom of conductive hearing loss.


Earwax blockage (impacted wax), ear infection, damage to the eardrum, fluid in the ear, glue ear, damage to the bones in the middle ear and/or a foreign body.

Treatment and prevention

It is dependant on the cause. For example, removing an earwax blockage may be all that is required. Treatment of other causes such as glue ear and damage to the middle ear bones may involve surgery.

2. Ear infections

Especially middle ear infections (or otitis media) are most common in children. However, adults can also experience them.


  • Inflammation and pain in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Nausea
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear
  • A discharge from the ear
  • Fever


There are three main types of ear infection:

  • Outer ear infection (otitis externa), or swimmer’s ear
  • Middle ear infection (otitis media)
  • Inner ear infection

A middle ear infection is caused by an excess of mucus that blocks the Eustachian tubes (connecting the middle ear to the nose and throat) and stops secretions from draining out. Bacteria and viruses then cause the fluid to become infected which leads to uncomfortable symptoms like ear pain, ear discharge and fever.

Treatment and prevention

Treatment options will vary according to the infection. Generally, the doctor might prescribe any of the following:

  • Antibiotics
  • Ear drops
  • Pain relief medication
  • Anti-sickness tablets (if you have an inner ear infection)

3. Impacted earwax

When there is a build-up of earwax in the ear, resulting in a complete blockage.


  • Hearing issues
  • Itchiness
  • Earache or pain
  • Whistling from your hearing aid
  • Infection
  • A blocked or muffled feeling in the ear/s


Our ears are very efficient at cleaning themselves. Ironically, it’s usually when people try to clean their ears that impacted earwax is caused. Using things like cotton buds, your finger, or other objects to try to remove earwax can push it further into the ear, where it can build up and become impacted. Other causes can include wearing earplugs or hearing aids, narrow or hairy ears and natural ageing.

Treatment and prevention

You may be advised to use wax drops (available from pharmacies) before seeing a medical professional to have the wax removed. Common wax removal methods are suction and syringing.

You may not be able to prevent earwax build-up but it’s advisable to have your ears checked regularly to see if you need the wax removed to prevent it from becoming impacted and blocking your ears.

4. Ménière’s disease

A condition that affects the inner ear, causing episodes of extreme dizziness, hearing loss (which can fluctuate in its severity), a feeling of ear fullness and tinnitus.


It typically only affects one ear but it can spread to both over time. An attack of Ménière’s disease can include the following symptoms:

  • Vertigo (dizziness or spinning)
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • A feeling of fullness, or pressure deep in the ear
  • Nausea or vomiting


With no exact cause identified, the disease might be a result of a combination of factors such as:

  • Improper drainage of fluid in the ear
  • Allergies
  • A family history of the disease
  • Migraines
  • Head injury
  • Viral infection
  • Disorder of the immune system

Treatment and prevention

Although there is no cure at the moment, there are a number of treatment options that help to manage the symptoms such as certain prescription medications. Some people find reducing their intake of caffeine, alcohol or salt can help with their symptoms, as can stopping smoking. Reducing fatigue and stress are also helpful for some people. Wearing hearing aids will help with any hearing loss and may alleviate tinnitus.


Specsavers Audiology. (2020). Ear Conditions.