Ear Infections

Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections, and they are frequently painful.

Ear Infections

Ear infections (acute otitis media) are usually a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum. Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections, and they are frequently painful.

Symptoms

In children, symptoms include crying, difficulty hearing, ear pain, fever of 100°F or higher, loss of appetite, and tugging or pulling of the ear.  For adults, symptoms include ear pain, diminished hearing, and draining of fluid from the ear.

Causes

Causes may have to do with the Eustachian tubes or adenoids.  See below for more information.

Treatment

Treatment might include antibiotics, pain medications, a warm compress, or ear tubes.

Common Causes of Ear Infections

Eustachian tubes
The Eustachian tubes are a pair tubes that run from the middle ear to the back of the throat. Swelling, inflammation, and mucus in the Eustachian tubes can cause the accumulation of fluids in the middle ear.

Adenoids
Adenoids are two pads of tissues in the back of the nose.

Related conditions
Conditions of the middle ear that may be related to:

• Chronic otitis media with effusion
• Chronic suppurative otitis media
• Otitis media with effusion

Diagnosis
The doctor will likely listen to your child breathe with a stethoscope and use an otoscope to examine the ears, throat, and nasal passage.

Additional tests
Your doctor may perform other diagnostic tests, including:

• Acoustic reflectometry
• Tympanocentesis
• Tympanometry
• Or, other tests

Contact us
If you have or think you or your child might have an ear infection, contact us today!

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD)

The Eustachian tube is a narrow tube connected to the bottom of the middle ear. It opens to regulate pressure in the ear when you swallow, yawn, or chew.  Eustachian tube dysfunction is the failure of the valve of the Eustachian tube to open and/or close properly. This can result in ear pressure and pain.

The cause of ETD may be linked to one or more of the following conditions:

• Viral upper respiratory tract infection
• Chronic sinusitis
• Allergic rhinitis
• Adenoid hypertrophy
• Tobacco smoke
• Reflux
• Cleft palate
• Radiation therapy
• Reduced mastoid air cell system

Symptoms of Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?

• Crackling or popping sounds in the ears
• Ear pain
• Ear problems when you have a cold or sinusitis
• Ears feel like they are clogged or “under water”
• Fullness
• Muffled hearing
• Pressure in the ears
• Ringing in the ears

Do I have persistent ETD?
During the past month, if any of the symptoms listed above were either a “moderate problem” or a “severe problem,” it may be time to talk to one of the doctors at Valley ENT Associates and find out if you might be a candidate for the Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation System.

For more information about the Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation procedure, clink on the link below.

Earaches

Earache, or pain in the ear, is common and can occur in both children and adults. Earaches can be due to a problem with the ear or structures close to the ear. The pain may be dull, sharp, or burning and can occur in one or both ears. It may be constant or come and go.

What Causes Earaches?

• Middle ear infection (called acute otitis media)
• Swimmer’s ear (called otitis externa)
• Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction or jaw joint pain
• Eustachian tube dysfunction
• Inflammation of the external outer ear (called chondritis)
• Q-tip use
• Throat infection
• Throat cancer (rarely)

Middle Ear Infections

Otitis Media is inflammation in the middle ear, which is the space behind the eardrum. Commonly, the inflammation occurs as the result of a middle ear infection, and can occur in one or both of the ears. If it isn’t treated promptly and effectively, hearing loss can result, which may impair a child’s learning capacity or cause a delay in the development of normal speech. It can also cause severe earaches, and if left untreated for prolonged periods, the infection can spread to nearby structures in the head, especially the mastoid.
Acute Otitis Media is commonly caused by a bacteria or virus that enters into the middle ear space by traveling through the Eustachian Tube from the nose or throat.

Symptoms of Acute Otitis Media often include:

• Ear pain or earache
• A feeling of blockage or pressure in the ear or ears
• Younger children may tug, rub or pull at the affected ear
• Fever often accompanies the earache, especially in children
• Hearing is typically muffled or diminished

Outer Ear Infections

Otitis Externa (also called Swimmer’s ear) is a painful condition that affects the outer ear and ear canal that is caused by infection, inflammation, or irritation.

These symptoms often occur after water gets trapped in your ear, especially if the water has bacteria or fungal organisms in it. Because this condition commonly affects swimmers, it is known as swimmer’s ear.
Signs and symptoms of swimmer’s ear may include:

• Itching inside the ear (common)
• Pain inside the ear that gets worse when you tug on the outer ear (common)
• Sensation that the ear is blocked or full
• Drainage from the ear
• Fever
• Decreased hearing
• Intense pain that may spread to the neck, face, or side of the head
• Swollen lymph nodes around the ear or in the upper neck
• Redness or swelling of the skin around the ear

If left untreated, a certain amount of hearing loss may occur. When the infection clears up, hearing usually returns to normal. Recurring ear infections (chronic otitis externa) are also possible. Without treatment, infections can continue to occur or persist.

Treatment for the early stages of swimmer’s ear includes careful cleaning of the ear canal and use of eardrops that inhibit bacterial or fungal growth and reduce inflammation. Mildly acidic solutions containing boric or acetic acid are often effective for early infections.

Follow-up appointments are very important to monitor your condition, to clean the ear again, and to replace the ear wick as needed. Your ENT specialist has specific equipment and expertise to effectively clean the ear canal and treat swimmer’s ear. With proper treatment, most infections should clear up in seven to 10 days.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Questions to answer:

    • Is there ear pain?
    • Has your child been pulling on his or her ear?
    • Difficulty sleeping?
    • Irritability?
    • Discharge from the ear?
    • When did the symptoms begin?
    • Has the patient had a cold, flu, or other respiratory symptoms recently?
    • Seasonal allergies?
    • Ear infection in the past?
    • Is the patient allergic to any medication, especially penicillin?
    • What symptoms have you observed?

Common Causes of Ear Infections

Eustachian tubes
The Eustachian tubes are a pair tubes that run from the middle ear to the back of the throat. Swelling, inflammation, and mucus in the Eustachian tubes can cause the accumulation of fluids in the middle ear.

Adenoids
Adenoids are two pads of tissues in the back of the nose.

Related conditions
Conditions of the middle ear that may be related to:

• Chronic otitis media with effusion
• Chronic suppurative otitis media
• Otitis media with effusion

Diagnosis
The doctor will likely listen to your child breathe with a stethoscope and use an otoscope to examine the ears, throat, and nasal passage.

Additional tests
Your doctor may perform other diagnostic tests, including:

• Acoustic reflectometry
• Tympanocentesis
• Tympanometry
• Or, other tests

Contact us
If you have or think you or your child might have an ear infection, contact us today!

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD)

The Eustachian tube is a narrow tube connected to the bottom of the middle ear. It opens to regulate pressure in the ear when you swallow, yawn, or chew.

Eustachian tube dysfunction is the failure of the valve of the Eustachian tube to open and/or close properly. This can result in pressure and pain.

 Do you experience the following symptoms?

• Crackling or popping sounds in the ears
• Ear pain
• Ear problems when you have a cold or sinusitis
• Ears feel like they are clogged or “under water”
• Fullness
• Muffled hearing
• Pressure in the ears
• Ringing in the ears

If you have some of these symptoms, you might be a candidate for the Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation System.

 

Earaches

Earache, or pain in the ear, is common and can occur in both children and adults. Earaches can be due to a problem with the ear or structures close to the ear. The pain may be dull, sharp, or burning and can occur in one or both ears. It may be constant or come and go.

What Causes Earaches?

• Middle ear infection (called acute otitis media)
• Swimmer’s ear (called otitis externa)
• Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction or jaw joint pain
• Eustachian tube dysfunction
• Inflammation of the external outer ear (called chondritis)
• Q-tip use
• Throat infection
• Throat cancer (rarely)

Middle Ear Infections

Otitis Media is inflammation in the middle ear, which is the space behind the eardrum. Commonly, the inflammation occurs as the result of a middle ear infection, and can occur in one or both of the ears. If it isn’t treated promptly and effectively, hearing loss can result, which may impair a child’s learning capacity or cause a delay in the development of normal speech. It can also cause severe earaches, and if left untreated for prolonged periods, the infection can spread to nearby structures in the head, especially the mastoid.
Acute Otitis Media is commonly caused by a bacteria or virus that enters into the middle ear space by traveling through the Eustachian Tube from the nose or throat.

Symptoms of Acute Otitis Media often include:

• Ear pain or earache
• A feeling of blockage or pressure in the ear or ears
• Younger children may tug, rub or pull at the affected ear
• Fever often accompanies the earache, especially in children
• Hearing is typically muffled or diminished

Outer Ear Infections

Otitis Externa (also called Swimmer’s ear) is a painful condition that affects the outer ear and ear canal that is caused by infection, inflammation, or irritation.

These symptoms often occur after water gets trapped in your ear, especially if the water has bacteria or fungal organisms in it. Because this condition commonly affects swimmers, it is known as swimmer’s ear.
Signs and symptoms of swimmer’s ear may include:

• Itching inside the ear (common)
• Pain inside the ear that gets worse when you tug on the outer ear (common)
• Sensation that the ear is blocked or full
• Drainage from the ear
• Fever
• Decreased hearing
• Intense pain that may spread to the neck, face, or side of the head
• Swollen lymph nodes around the ear or in the upper neck
• Redness or swelling of the skin around the ear

If left untreated, a certain amount of hearing loss may occur. When the infection clears up, hearing usually returns to normal. Recurring ear infections (chronic otitis externa) are also possible. Without treatment, infections can continue to occur or persist.

Treatment for the early stages of swimmer’s ear includes careful cleaning of the ear canal and use of eardrops that inhibit bacterial or fungal growth and reduce inflammation. Mildly acidic solutions containing boric or acetic acid are often effective for early infections.

Follow-up appointments are very important to monitor your condition, to clean the ear again, and to replace the ear wick as needed. Your ENT specialist has specific equipment and expertise to effectively clean the ear canal and treat swimmer’s ear. With proper treatment, most infections should clear up in seven to 10 days.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Questions to answer:

    • Is there ear pain?
    • Has your child been pulling on his or her ear?
    • Difficulty sleeping?
    • Irritability?
    • Discharge from the ear?
    • When did the symptoms begin?
    • Has the patient had a cold, flu, or other respiratory symptoms recently?
    • Seasonal allergies?
    • Ear infection in the past?
    • Is the patient allergic to any medication, especially penicillin?
    • What symptoms have you observed?

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Marlette, MI 48453
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