What Do You Understand By “Ear Infection”?
Ear infection, also known as acute otitis media, is an infection that occurs when a bacterial or viral infection affects the middle ear- the part of the ear just behind the eardrum.
In an infection, the narrow tube called the eustachian tubes that connect the middle ear to the back of the throat becomes inflamed and blocked which leads to mucus build-up in the middle ear.
Although children are more prone to getting ear infections than adults, some people often get multiple ear infections. These infections, when not treated on time, may lead to early hearing problems and severe complications.
Our otolaryngology specialists at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad are fully trained with years of expertise in all types of ear infections. They are always ready to help you identify the onset of ear infections, make accurate prognoses, and give you the appropriate treatment.
Causes of Ear infection
Ear infections can either be chronic or acute. While acute ear infections are painful but short in duration, chronic ear infections last for a long time and may recur many times. This can
cause permanent damage to the Eustachian tube.
Infections caused by bacteria and viruses, as well as common illnesses such as the flu, cold, or allergy cause swelling and congestion of the eustachian tubes, nasal passages, and throat.
Here are some of the most common causes of eustachian tube blockage due to infection:
– swollen adenoids or infection at the tissue near your tonsils that hampers immune system activity
- Sinus infections
- Flu or cold
- Lack of air pressure regulation in the middle air
- Any dysfunction or non-infectious blockage of the Eustachian tubes
- Fluid build-up in the middle ear due to a blockage that inhibits the draining of normal
- A swelling in your adenoids or a tissue infection near your tonsils that impairs your
Signs & Symptoms
Reach out to our experts if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Discomfort or pain inside the ear
- The recurring sensation of pressure inside the air
- Trouble sleeping or fussiness in young infants
- Pus-like ear drainage or secretion from the ear
- Hearing loss or trouble responding to sounds
- Unusual loss of balance in children
- Fever of 100 F or higher
- Headache and loss of appetite
Below are listed some of the factors that can make one more vulnerable to ear infections
1. Seasonal allergy: Since ear infections are most common during fall and winter, people with seasonal allergies have a greater risk of ear infections when pollen counts are high.
2. Age factor: In addition, the narrower the Eustachian tubes are and the lower the immune system, the greater the risk of a blockage. This makes children below 2 years more vulnerable to ear infections.
3. Colds: Having cold increases the chances of getting an ear infection.
4. Chronic Illness: People with immune deficiencies are more likely to develop ear infections. This makes people with chronic illnesses such as asthma and cystic fibrosis more susceptible to ear infections.
5. Bad air quality: Exposure to polluted air increases the risk of ear infections.
6. Cleft palate: The bone structure and muscles in children who have cleft palates may make it difficult for the Eustachian tube to drain.
For diagnosis, our Yashoda experts will review your medical and family history, observe your symptoms and perform a thorough physical examination through the following:
1. Otoscope: Our specialists use an instrument called an otoscope to examine your ear. A clear and pinkish-grey colour will mean a healthy eardrum while an inflamed, swollen, and
red eardrum indicates infection.
2. Pneumatic otoscope: This instrument is used to check for the presence of fluid in the middle ear.
3. Tympanometry:Although this test does not test hearing, it uses air pressure to check for fluids in the middle ear.
4. Hearing test: Our specialist may recommend a hearing test from an audiologist to examine any trace of hearing loss or recurring ear infections or fluid build-up.
5. Stethoscope:Using a stethoscope, our specialist will examine your throat and nasal passage and listen to your breathing for any signs of upper respiratory infections. They may also order a computed tomography (CT) scan of your head to determine if the infection has spread beyond the middle ear.
Antibiotics: Although most mild ear infections clear up without any medical intervention, after examining your symptoms, our specialists may recommend antibiotic treatment.
Antibiotic courses must be completed.
Medication: In certain cases, over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be recommended to relieve pain.
Anesthesia:Anaesthetic drops may be used to relieve pain if the eardrum has no injury.
Surgery:In more severe cases such as enlarged adenoids, surgical removal may be needed. If ear infections persist or occur repeatedly over a short time, surgery may be
Tympanostomy tube:If you have persistent ear infections (chronic otitis media) or continuous fluid. Once the infection clears up (otitis media with effusion), this treatment of draining the fluid out of the ear may be recommended.
Whom to consult?
Since symptoms indicate several conditions of ear infections, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment are highly essential for effective treatment.
On and after consultation with specialists, constant and regular check-ups are a must for which our ENT specialists at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, and Ghaziabad are always ready to provide the best services.
For any query, please feel free to reach out to us on our official website
www.yashodahealthcare.com or book an appointment with our ENT specialist, Dr Nripen Vishnoi by calling us at 09810922042.