Middle Ear Infection, also known as otitis media, occurs when a bacteria or virus swells the area behind the eardrum. Children are often affected by this condition. A study shows that middle ear infections occur in 80 per cent of children at the age of three.
Winter and early spring are the most common times for middle ear infections. Otitis media usually goes away without medication. Here I have discussed Middle Ear Infection Symptoms, Treatment, and all the necessary information you may need to know.
Types of Otitis Media:
There are two types of otitis media:
- Otitis media with effusion (OME)
- Acute otitis media (AOM)
Otitis Media with Effusion (OME)
Once the infection is resolved, mucus and fluids may continue to accumulate in the middle ear. Feeling full in the ears makes it difficult to hear clearly.
Acute Otitis Media
This type of ear infection occurs quickly and is accompanied by swelling and redness of the ears behind and around the eardrum. Fever, ear pain, and hearing loss are often caused by water and mucus in the middle ear.
There are various symptoms associated with middle ear infections. The most common are:
- Ear pain
- Sleeping disorder
- Pulling or tugging the ears
- Yellow, precise, or bloody secretions from the ears
- Loss of balance
- Hearing impairment
- Nausea and vomiting
If you notice any of the above symptoms, then consultation with one of the best ENT specialists through Marham will be best for you.
There are several reasons why a child may have otitis media.
- They often result from pre-respiratory infections that spread to the ears.
- When the tube that connects the middle ear to the pharynx (the Eustachian tube) becomes clogged, water accumulates behind the eardrum.
- Bacteria often multiply in body fluids, causing pain and infections.
A doctor will ensure that they have a medical history of your child, and they will do a physical examination as well.
The doctor examines the outer ear and eardrum with a lighted device called an otoscope for redness, swelling, pus, and fluid.
Doctors may also do a test called tympanometry to determine if the middle ear is functioning correctly. In this test, the device is placed in the ear canal. This changes the pressure and causes the eardrum to vibrate. This test measures and graphs changes in vibration. Your doctor will interpret the results.
Middle ear infections can be treated in several ways. Your doctor will treat your child based on their age, health, and medical history. Your doctor will also consider the following:
- Severity of infection
- Your child’s ability to withstand antibiotics
- Parents’ opinions and preferences
Depending on the severity of the infection, your doctor may say that it is best to treat the pain and see if the symptoms disappear. Ibuprofen or other fever and painkillers are common treatments.
If your symptoms last longer than three days, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. However, if a virus causes the antibiotic, it cannot cure the infection.
Make sure to consult an ENT doctor before starting any treatment at home.
Complications from ear infections are rare but can occur. Some complications associated with middle ear infections are:
- Infections that spread to the bones of the ear
- Infections that spread to body fluids that surround the brain and spinal cord
- Permanent deafness
- Ruptured eardrum
There are ways to reduce the risk of your child getting an ear infection:
- Wash your hands and your child’s hands regularly.
- When feeding a bottle, always hold the bottle and feed yourself when sitting or sitting semi-upright. Please don’t use the bottle when they are one year old.
- Avoid smoky environments.
- Keep your child vaccinated up to date.
- Remove the baby from the pacifier when the baby is one year old.
- The Doctors recommend breastfeeding babies when possible to help reduce the incidence of middle ear infections.
Who to Consult?
If your children are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above, you should consult an ENT specialist. The condition should not be avoided, as it may cause serious complications, even the complete loss of hearing. You can book an appointment with one of the best specialists through Marham.
What is the fastest way to cure otitis media?
People often use ice packs or warm compresses to relieve pain. The same can be done for ear pain. This method is safe for both children and adults.
How do you get otitis media?
Middle ear infections usually occur when bacteria and viruses from the mouth, eyes, and nostrils are trapped behind the eardrum. The result is pain and a feeling of clogging of the ears.
How do you know if an ear infection has spread to your brain?
You can know from the symptoms:
- Neurological deficits
- Impaired consciousness.