What is an Ear Infection?
An ear infection or “acute otitis media is an infection caused by a bacterium or a virus that most often affects the middle ear. The inflammation and build up of pus and mucous behind the eardrum, can lead to severe pain and fever, and if not treated, the condition may cause hearing loss and other serious complications.
Otitis Media with Effusion refers to persistent inflammation once the infection has been resolved. Accumulated fluid or non-infectious blockage may cause this condition.
Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media is a chronic ear infection that can tear or perforate the eardrum.
If you or your loved ones are suffering from an ear infection and related complications, set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440 352 1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!
What Causes an Ear Infection?
The ear can be infected if the Eustachian tube, that connects the middle ear to the back of throat, fails to prevent the germs from entering the ear. This tube allows drainage of fluid from the ear while regulating air pressure in the middle ear. When this tube is blocked, the un-drained fluid accumulates and infection starts to take shape. The swelling inflammation and mucous build up caused by following conditions is associated with ear infection.
- Cold and Flu
- Sinus Infections
- Swollen Adenoids
- Respiratory Infections
What are the Symptoms of an Ear Infection?
An ear infection can be a serious bother to an individual of any age, children between the ages of 6 months and two years however, are the ones most affected. In children, following symptoms may develop.
- Mild to severe ear pain
- Inattention and trouble hearing
- Loss of appetite
- Fever of 100F or above
- Grumpiness and irritability
- Trouble sleeping
- Tugging and pulling of the ear as well as general restlessness
- Balance problem and dizziness
Unlike children, adults can decipher the symptoms better and may complain of the following troubles.
- Popping and ringing of the ear
- Dizziness and balance problems
- Thick and yellow or bloody drainage from the ear
- Impaired hearing
Many people with a middle ear infection experience temporary hearing loss. A patient can experience anywhere from 24 to 45 decibels of hearing loss, making it difficult to optimally interact with the surroundings.
What are the Risk Factors for an Ear Infection?
As the Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and straighter with a smaller opening, the ears find it hard to drain the fluids, thus the ear infections are more common and frequent in children than adults. Following factors can increase the occurrence of an ear infection among children and adults.
- Seasonal allergies
- Exposure to cold and flu
- Group child care
- Bottle feeding in children and use of pacifiers
- High levels of air pollution
When Should I see a Doctor?
You should consult an experienced ENT specialist as soon as you notice any of the symptoms of an ear infection. A visit to the doctor becomes more crucial if,
- The symptoms persist for more than a couple of days
- Your child has trouble being attentive after a cold
- If your child is under 6 months old and is showing symptoms of an ear infection
- A bloody discharge is visible; it may be a sign of ear-rupture
How is an Ear Infection Diagnosed?
Your ENT specialist can make the diagnosis based on the description of symptoms. For further clarity, he/she may use a lighted instrument called an otoscope to check out the ears as well as throat and nasal passage. It can help your doctor detect any inflammation or infection. Instruments like tympanometer and audiometer can also help measure up the function and flexibility of eardrums as well as hearing capacity of the patient.
How is an Ear Infection Treated?
Generally, an ear infection is resolved within a couple of days on its own. However, if the symptoms persist, an ENT specialist can advise antibiotics and other treatment options.
- To manage pain, painkillers like Tylenol and Ibuprofen can be used. A warm moist cloth placed over the ear can also ease pain.
- For advanced treatment, a measured antibiotic therapy is recommended.
Ensuring a healthy ear is important to your overall well-being. If you or your loved ones are suffering from an ear infection and related complications, set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440 352 1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!
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OTHER HELPFUL NOSE, SINUS & ALLERGY FACT SHEETS:
- A Quick Glossary for Good Ear Health
- Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease
- Better Ear Health
- The Necessity of Early Intervention in Hearing
- Middle Ear Infection (Chronic Otitis Media) and Hearing Loss
- Cochlear-Meningitis Vaccination
- Cochlear Implants
- Day Care and Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
- Ear Infection and Vaccines
- Ear Plastic Surgery
- Ears and Altitude
- Genes and Hearing Loss
- Hearing Loss
- Hyperacusis: An increased sensitivity to everyday sounds
- Infant Hearing Loss
- Children's Hearing Health
- Noise and Hearing Protection
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Children
- Pediatric Obesity and Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders
- Travel Tips for the Hearing Impaired
- What You Should Know About Otosclerosis
- When Your Child Has Tinnitus
- Ear Infection and Hearing Loss