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Ear Infections/Ear Tubes

What is an Ear Infection?

An ear infection or Otitis Media is the one of the most common causes of doctor’s visit in children under the age of five. A viral ear infection in children usually resolves on its own while the bacterial ones may need a course of antibiotic to clear up. However, sometimes recurring or chronic ear infection may develop that may need advanced treatment procedures to contain. If not treated, ear infections may lead to serious complications like hearing loss.

Whether you need some help with toddler swimmers ear or child ear infection or you think your child may benefit from ear tubes, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced pediatric ENT doctors at Eastside ENT specialists in Ohio. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and access quality medical care for your child.

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What Causes Ear Infection in Children?

Eustachian tube is a narrow passage in a child’s ear that connects the middle ear to the back of child’s throat. When this passage is blocked and fails to protect the germs from entering the middle ear, the ear is inflamed and infected and most often fluid is accumulated behind the eardrum. In some cases even after the clearance of infection, the inflammation and fluid may persist. This condition is called the Otitis Media with Effusion.

What is an Ear Tube Surgery?

One of the most effective ways to treat chronic or acute otitis media ear is placing tiny tubes or cylinders through a small surgical opening made in the eardrum. Usually two tubes are inserted into each ear of the child, which can stay there 6 to 18 months or longer. The tubes usually fall out on their own. Also called the ventilation tubes, myringotomy tubes or pressure equalization (PE) tubes, the ear tubes can offer following benefits to a child suffering from chronic or recurring ear infection:

  • Allow the accumulated fluid to flow out of the ear
  • Allow air to reach the middle ear
  • Provide relief from pain caused by pressure from fluid buildup
  • Prevent any future buildup of fluid or infection
  • Restore the hearing loss caused by middle ear infection
  • Improve your child’s balance
  • Improve behavior and sleep problems
  • Improve speech development in children having difficulties hearing due to accumulated fluid
  • Improve your child’s performance at school

What are the Symptoms of Ear Infection in Children?

Following are some of the symptoms of ear infection in toddlers and young children:

  • Tugging on the ear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sharp pain in the ear
  • Partial or significant hearing loss
  • Crying without any apparent reason
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Fluid or puss draining from the ear

If these symptoms do not get better with usual treatment options, or you find the ear infection returning back, ear tubes may be a good option for your child.

What are the Risk Factors for Ear Infection in Children?

The chances of developing ear infections are particularly high in children suffering from following conditions:

  • Allergies
  • Cold and Flu
  • Swollen Adenoids or Tonsils
  • Exposure to Smoking or other irritants
  • Respiratory infections
  • Abnormally small or narrow Eustachian tubes

When Should I see a Doctor?

It is important to visit an experienced pediatric ear specialist as soon as you notice the symptoms of an ear infection. If your child is experiencing recurring ear infection or has effusion or fluid build behind the eardrum for more than 3 months, you should talk about the option of Ear Tubes with the pediatric ENT specialist.

How is an Ear Infection in Children Diagnosed?

A pediatric hearing doctor may use following diagnostic techniques to determine the severity of an ear infection:

  • Physical exam using a lit instrument called otoscope
  • Audiometer can help him measure up the hearing capacity of the child
  • The pediatric ear doctor may look for signs of fluid behind the eardrum and assess whether ear tubes might be a good option for your child

How is an Ear Infection in Children Treated?

The acute otitis media may be treated through following treatment procedures

  • A course of antibiotics
  • If your child has a cold or allergies accompanying the ear infection a decongestant or antihistamine may be prescribed

For severe or recurring cases of ear infections, ear tubes for children may be the best option

What Does and Ear Tube Surgery Involve?

Ear Tube surgeries are common as each year more than half a million children get ear tubes placed in their ears. The process is simple and is usually carried out in the outpatient surgery clinic under anesthesia. a small incision is made in the tympanic membrane or the ear drum and the tubes are carefully placed in. the surgery has few complications, the procedure lasts about 15 minutes and the child is usually ready to go home in a couple of hours.

Ear Infection in Children can negatively affect the quality of life and if left unchecked, can lead to serious complications. Whether you need some help with toddler swimmers ear or child ear infection or you think your child may benefit from ear tubes, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced pediatric ENT doctors at Eastside ENT specialists in Ohio. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and access quality medical care for your child.