The mastoid bone is a portion of the temporal bone that is located behind the external ear. It is a spongy bone that contains air cells, which help to protect the middle ear from infection. The mastoid bone is also important for hearing, as it is the site where bone conduction testing is performed.
What are the mastoid bones?
There are two mastoid bones, one on each side of the head. They are located behind the external ear, and they are part of the temporal bone. The mastoid bones are named after the Greek word “mastoides,” which means “breast-shaped.”
What is the mastoid bone responsible for?
The mastoid bone is responsible for a number of things, including:
- Protecting the middle ear from infection: The air cells in the mastoid bone help to equalize pressure in the middle ear, which can help to prevent infection.
- Hearing: The mastoid bone is the site where bone conduction testing is performed. Bone conduction testing is a way of measuring hearing by transmitting sound through the bones of the skull.
- Balancing: The mastoid bone is also involved in balance. The inner ear, which is located in the temporal bone, contains a structure called the vestibular system. The vestibular system helps to maintain balance by detecting movement and changes in position.
What are the symptoms of mastoid problems?
The symptoms of mastoid problems can vary depending on the underlying cause. However, some common symptoms include:
- Ear pain: The most common symptom of mastoid problems is ear pain. The pain may be severe and constant.
- Fever: People with mastoid problems often have a fever. The fever may be high, up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Drainage from the ear: People with mastoid problems may have drainage from the ear. The drainage may be clear, bloody, or pus-like.
- Hearing loss: People with mastoid problems may have hearing loss. The hearing loss may be temporary or permanent.
Why does mastoid hurt?
The mastoid bone can hurt for a number of reasons, including:
- Infection: An infection of the mastoid bone, called mastoiditis, can cause pain.
- Trauma: A blow to the head can damage the mastoid bone and cause pain.
- Earwax buildup: Earwax buildup can press on the mastoid bone and cause pain.
- Allergies: Allergies can cause inflammation of the mastoid bone and cause pain.
If you are experiencing pain in the mastoid bone, it is important to see a doctor to determine the cause and get treatment.
Treatment for mastoid problems
The treatment for mastoid problems depends on the underlying cause. However, some common treatments include:
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics are often used to treat infections of the mastoid bone.
- Surgery: Surgery may be necessary to drain an infected mastoid bone or to remove a bone that is causing pain.
- Pain relievers: Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to relieve pain caused by mastoid problems.
If you have any of the symptoms of mastoid problems, it is important to see a doctor right away. Mastoid problems can be serious, but they are usually treatable with antibiotics or surgery.