Neurotology: what it is and in what disorders it is involved

The human body is an organism made up of a large number of systems, coordinated management allows us to function properly and to be able to survive and adapt to the environment. Among them we can find the nervous system, thanks to which the aforementioned coordination and management is possible, or systems as relevant as hearing, which in addition to the perception of sounds itself also has an effect on our orientation, our balance and postural maintenance. .

However, several problems can appear in these systems, which can have a significant impact on our quality of life. Fortunately, there are medical specialties focused on the relationship between the nervous and auditory-vestibular systems that allow the detection and treatment of the various disorders and problems that may arise, highlighting relatively recent neurotology.

    What is neurotology?

    It is understood by neurotología or otoneurología is one of the branches of medicine that specializes in the study of the relationships between the auditory system and the nervous system. is considered 1 subspecialization of the otolaryngology specialtyAs we are mainly faced with problems that originate from or affect the inner ear. However, it could also be a very specific subspecialty of neurology, as it is the connection to the nervous system that is explored.

    Thus, neurotology is primarily responsible for the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of alterations in which an alteration in the interaction between the two systems occurs. More specifically, the study of the human body from this sub-specialization of medicine focuses on the inner ear, the vestibular system, the skull and the facial, auditory, vestibular, vagus, spinal, lower and hypoglossal nerves, among others.

    these specialists they usually perform otological and neurological evaluations to define and find the causes of disorders related to dizziness, floating sensations and hearing loss. These are usually hearing problems and are related to the balance or position of the body resulting from a neurological impairment.

    training needed

    This medical field has already had a powerful body of theoretical knowledge since the 20th century, but it was not until a few decades ago that it became a subspecialty. To become a neuro-otologist or otoneurologist, we must have knowledge of both otolaryngology and neurology.

    To obtain this degree, one will first have to have studied medicine, after which a specialization in otolaryngology is necessary (although the possibility of coming from neurology is not excluded) and later, subspecializes in this field. we are in front a type of prolonged and very exhaustive training in relation to a very specific part of the body.

    Although it is in itself a sub-specialization within neurotology, we can also find a more specific sub-branch: otoneurosurgery And it is possible that it becomes necessary to carry out a type surgical intervention, requiring great preparation for it.

    Problems and illnesses that he often encounters

    Neurotology is a medical discipline that deals with a wide variety of problems that can generate different levels of impairment and functional limitation in people who suffer from it, in some cases even putting their lives at risk. In all of these disorders, the following stand out.

    1. Hearing loss and deafness

    We call it hearing loss a hearing loss which, although not total, is a loss of functionality and capacity of the person on a daily basis. Deafness as such would be a total loss of hearing.

    In both cases, we are faced with something painful and which generates limitations in daily life, the causes must be carefully analyzed. Otosclerosis is an example of a disease that causes hearing loss. In addition, the cochlear implant is probably one of the most well-known types of intervention performed by neurotology in this regard.

    2. Vertigo

    Dizziness is probably one of the most common problems seen by neurotologists. It is understood as such in the symptom (since it is not a disorder in itself but that it would indicate a certain type of affectation or alteration of the vestibular system) characterized by the presence of dizziness, problems with balance and orientation, Discomfort, feeling that the world is raking around us or even fading away.

    3. Tinnitus and tinnitus

    The frequent perception of sounds in the form of ringing or ringing in the ear that often make it difficult to hear is often a reason for consultation, which neurotologists can examine to determine the causes.

    4. Ménière’s disease

    Ménière’s disease is a disorder characterized by balance and hearing problems caused by alterations in the labyrinth. It is common to run with dizziness, tinnitus (continuous roaring), and feelings of discomfort, and the subject may become deaf. The specific causes are unknown today and there is no cure as such, but it can be treated so that it can be brought under control.

    5. Facial paralysis

    Although a little different from the previous ones, it is possible to come across people who suffer from some type of facial paralysis associated with injury or pinching of one of the cranial pairs, The nerves which are also studied for neurotology.

      6. Tumors

      It is also possible that different types of tumors of different degrees appear in the auditory pathways or in the nerves that connect them to the brain, or that certain types of tumors can put pressure on the nerve pathways in these areas. From neurotology, it is also possible to help detect these neoplasms. An example is the acoustic neuroma.

      7. Malformations

      In addition to all this, we can also find the presence of different types of malformations, both congenital and acquired (eg product of accidents).

      Thanks to neurotheology, it is possible to observe the level of involvement of the auditory and vestibular systems and even to surgically correct certain ailments and malformations which make it difficult for them to function properly.

      bibliographical references

      • Carmona, S. (2015). Current otoneurology. An Ibero-American perspective. Mexican Journal of Communication, Audiology, Toneurology and Phoniatrics, 4 (1).

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