Chronic Ear Infections
Ear infections are a common condition that usually go away within a few days with minor treatments. Chronic ear infections, however, do not heal on their own and may need specialized treatment in order to go away. These are often caused when the eustachian tube, which is the tube that drains fluid away from the middle ear, becomes clogged. The buildup of fluid causes pressure on the eardrum.
What Are the Symptoms of Ear Infections?
The most common symptoms of an ear infection are pain, a high temperature, or hearing loss.
If there’s liquid draining from your ear, it could be otitis (the fancy name for an ear infection), but it could also be a perforated eardrum. Though that sounds pretty violent, it can be caused by something as simple as loud sounds or changes in pressure. The good news is that the condition responds well to treatment, so come see us.
If you don’t see liquid but you’ve got acute pain and your ears feel full, that could also be a sign of an ear infection that’s not draining well on its own.
Untreated ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss, so if you have these symptoms you should definitely come in and see us immediately.
Middle Ear Infection
A middle ear infection, also known as acute otitis media, affects the space behind the eardrum which holds the tiny, vibrating bones of the ear. These types of ear infections are more common in children than adults and can cause serious problems if they’re left untreated.
Call or text us if you think you have a middle ear infection, have pain that lasts for more than a day, or there is a fluid discharge coming from the ear. While these types of ear infections may clear up on their own, they can cause hearing problems and other complications. We can speed up healing with antibiotics and pain relief medication.
Ear Infections and a Perforated Eardrum
A perforated eardrum is known by a few different names, including a ruptured eardrum and a tympanic membrane perforation. This condition is a tear or hole in the tissue between your ear canal and your eardrum and leads to hearing loss and a higher chance of infection. If you have a perforated eardrum, you will most likely experience some pain, hearing loss, and possibly tinnitus or vertigo.
Perforated eardrums may heal on their own if the tear is not that bad. However, more serious perforations require surgery to repair the damage. It’s impossible to tell how bad the perforation is on your own, so it’s important to come see us if you start noticing any of the symptoms of a ruptured eardrum.
Unlike other ear infections, swimmer’s ear affects the outer ear canal, which is why it’s also called external otitis. Swimmer’s ear is caused by water that gets trapped in your ears after you’ve gone swimming. Water in the ear is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. However, this isn’t the only cause, as damaging the skin of your ear canal with a Q-Tip or other object can lead to the same symptoms.
Discomfort and itching, all to varying degrees, are the most common signs and symptoms of swimmer’s ear. You should visit a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms or if you have pain or fever in addition to discomfort in your ear.
Will I Get My Hearing Back After an Ear Infection?
It’s not uncommon to temporarily lose your hearing when you have a cold. A cold, the flu, allergies, sinus infections, or drastic altitude changes can block your eustachian tube, which is what causes your ears to feel clogged. Unfortunately, it can also be an ideal environment for infections. So if your ears are clogged for more than a few days, or have any other symptoms of an ear infection that aren’t clearing up with treatment, give us a call or text us.
Recurring Ear Infections and Long-Term Hearing Loss
Recurring ear infections can cause something called tympanosclerosis–the fancy medical term for scar tissue and calcium deposits left in your middle ear or on the eardrum. This can cause conductive hearing loss, which may not go away completely without treatment.
If you’re suffering from chronic ear infections, we can help. Call or Text Us