Acute Otitis Externa Or Swimmers Ear
Acute otitis externa or swimmerâs ear is caused by an infection, inflammation, or irritation of the ear canal. It can affect children and adults. This condition usually result from water getting trapped in the ear but can also be the result of eczema, excess earwax, use of hearing aids or earbuds, trauma from Q tips or other objects being inserted into the ear canals.
Can This Permanent Hearing Loss Be Prevented
If you believe that you might have an ear infection, see a doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you get treatment, the better. Always have chronic ear infection checked out by a doctor. The more serious the infections you have, the more damage they cause. Ear infections typically begin with allergies, sinus infections, and colds so take steps to avoid them. Its time to stop smoking because it causes chronic respiratory issues which can, in turn, lead to ear infections.
If youve had an ear infection and are still having trouble hearing, call your doctor. It is possible you have some damage, but that is not the only thing that can cause conductive hearing loss. Hearing aids are very helpful if you have permanent hearing loss. To get more info about hearing aids, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.
Symptoms Of A Middle Ear Infection
In most cases, the symptoms of a middle ear infection develop quickly and resolve in a few days. This is known as acute otitis media. The main symptoms include:
- a lack of energy
- slight hearing loss – if the middle ear becomes filled with fluid
In some cases, a hole may develop in the eardrum and pus may run out of the ear. The earache, which is caused by the build-up of fluid stretching the eardrum, then resolves.
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What Is Chronic Otitis Media
When an ear infection does not completely go away or returns often, it is referred to as chronic. If left untreated, chronic ear infections can lead to a variety of complications including hearing loss, damage to the eardrum, damage to the bones in the middle ear, chronic or recurring drainage from the ear, balance problems, a middle ear cyst called a cholesteatoma, facial paralysis and inflammation of the brain.
Don’t Ignore Sudden Hearing Loss In One Ear
Can’t suddenly hear out of your left or right ear? Sudden hearing loss without a clear origin is a medical emergency and should be treated promptly. Trust your gut: If something doesn’t “sound” right or feels funny beyond a normal stuffed-up head, get to the doctor. The faster you get treatment, the better chance you have to regain your hearing. If you’ve been sick lately, this is important to tell your doctor, tooviral infections, including mumps and even COVID, have been linked to sudden hearing loss and tinnitus.
Sudden hearing loss without a clear origin is a medical emergency and should be treated promptly.
Some conditions may require advanced testing, so after seeing a hearing care provider or doctor you may need to schedule a follow-up appointment or visit a specialized physician known as an otolaryngologist .
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How Long Will Hearing Loss From An Ear Infection Last
Usually, the hearing loss that develops from a middle ear infection is temporary. Once the fluid drains out of the middle ear, it no longer inhibits the transmission of sound vibrations.
But the fluid can linger for some time. While the symptoms of a typical case of otitis media will usually begin to resolve within about 48 to 72 hours, the fluid thats built up in the middle ear may linger for as long as 3 months. You may have trouble hearing clearly while the fluid remains trapped.
How Is Labyrinthitis Treated
Treating most cases of labyrinthitis includes observation, bed rest, and hydration. Steroids, such as prednisone, are typically prescribed to minimize inner ear inflammation. In some cases, steroids may be injected through the eardrum into the middle ear space. Severe nausea and vomiting may be treated with anti-nausea medications. Vertigo may be treated with antihistamines or sedatives, such as benzodiazepines, although long-term use can prolong the recovery.
The treatment of bacterial labyrinthitis is to control the primary infection, which is usually a middle ear infection. This may require antibiotics, placement of an ear tube, or more advanced ear surgery. Treatment for autoimmune labyrinthitis addresses the underlying autoimmune condition with steroids or other immune modulating medications usually directed by the rheumatologist.
What Are The Symptoms Of Otitis Media
Symptoms of ear infection include:
- Ear pain: This symptom is obvious in older children and adults. In infants too young to speak, look for signs of pain like rubbing or tugging ears, crying more than usual, trouble sleeping, acting fussy/irritable.
- Loss of appetite: This may be most noticeable in young children, especially during bottle feedings. Pressure in the middle ear changes as the child swallows, causing more pain and less desire to eat.
- Irritability: Any kind of continuing pain may cause irritability.
- Poor sleep: Pain may be worse when the child is lying down because the pressure in the ear may worsen.
- Fever: Ear infections can cause temperatures from 100° F up to 104° F. Some 50% of children will have a fever with their ear infection.
- Drainage from the ear: Yellow, brown, or white fluid that is not earwax may seep from the ear. This may mean that the eardrum has ruptured .
- Trouble hearing: Bones of the middle ear connect to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain. Fluid behind the eardrums slows down movement of these electrical signals through the inner ear bones.
This Permanent Damage Can Be Prevented
First and foremost, consult a doctor if you think you have an ear infection. You shouldnt wait if you want to preserve your hearing. Also, dont overlook chronic ear infections. More damage is caused by more serious infections. Finally, take the appropriate steps to prevent colds, allergies, and sinus infections because that is how ear infections normally start. Its time to stop smoking because it causes chronic respiratory issues which will, in turn, lead to ear infections.
If you are still having problems hearing after having an ear infection, see a doctor. Other things can cause conductive hearing loss, but it may be possible that you may have some damage. Hearing aids are very helpful if you have permanent hearing loss. You should schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to get more info about hearing aids.
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How Does Chronic Otitis Media Occur
If the eustachian tube becomes blocked due to swelling or congestion in the nose, the middle ear cannot equalize pressure properly. Negative pressure then develops. If the eustachian tube blockage is prolonged, fluid or mucus can be drawn into the middle ear. As the blockage persists, the tissue in the middle ear begins to change. First, the mucus become thicker, and less likely to drain. Then the lining itself begins to thicken and become inflamed. The defense mechanisms of the eustachian tube and middle ear become compromised and bacteria normally present in the nose can track into the middle ear and otitis media.
The negative pressure in the middle ear or alternating periods of negative, normal, and positive pressure may deform the eardrum. Over time, the eardrum may become severely distorted, thinned, or even perforated. These changes may cause hearing loss and a sensation of pressure. When there is a hole in the eardrum, the natural protection of the middle ear from the environment is lost. Water and bacteria entering the middle ear from the ear canal can cause repeated inflammation and infection. Drainage from the ear is a common sign of a perforation.
Inflammation and infection in time can cause erosion of ear bones and the walls of the middle and inner ear. This can lead to hearing loss, imbalance, or weakness of facial movement. In rare cases, the infection may extend deeper into the head, causing meningitis or brain abscess.
This Permanent Hearing Loss Can Be Avoided
If you think you may have an ear infection, see a doctor as soon as possible. You shouldnt wait if you want to protect your hearing. Always have chronic ear infection checked out by a doctor. The more serious the infections you have, the more damage they cause. Ear infections usually begin with allergies, sinus infections, and colds so take measures to prevent them. If you smoke, now is the time to stop, too, because smoking multiplies your risk of having chronic respiratory issues.
If youve had an ear infection and still are having difficulties hearing, see your doctor. Other things can cause conductive hearing loss, but it may be possible that you may have some damage. If you find out that its permanent, hearing aids will help you hear once again. To get more information about hearing aids, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.
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About Middle Ear Infections
Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear that causes inflammation and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum.
Anyone can develop a middle ear infection but infants between six and 15 months old are most commonly affected.
It’s estimated that around one in every four children experience at least one middle ear infection by the time they’re 10 years old.
What Are Other Causes Of Ear Pain
Other causes of ear pain include:
- A sore throat.
- Teeth coming in in a baby.
- An infection of the lining of the ear canal. This is also called swimmers ear.
- Pressure build up in the middle ear caused by allergies and colds.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/16/2020.
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What Is An Ear Infection
The commonly used term ear infection is known medically as acute otitis media or a sudden infection in the middle ear. Anyone can get an ear infection children as well as adults although ear infections are one of the most common reasons why young children visit healthcare providers.
In many cases, ear infections clear up on their own. Your healthcare provider may recommend a medication to relieve pain. If the ear infection has worsened or not improved, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic. In children younger than the age of two years, an antibiotic is usually needed for ear infections.
Its important to see your healthcare provider to make sure the ear infection has healed or if you or your child has ongoing pain or discomfort. Hearing problems and other serious effects can occur with ongoing ear infections, frequent infections and when fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
When To Get Medical Help
A GP can help if you think you’re losing your hearing.
- if you or your child suddenly lose hearing , call a GP or NHS 111 as soon as possible
- if you think your or your child’s hearing is getting gradually worse, make an appointment to see a GP
- if you’re concerned about a friend’s or family member’s hearing, encourage them to see a GP
The GP will ask about your symptoms and look inside your ears using a small handheld torch with a magnifying lens. They can also do some simple checks of your hearing.
If needed, they can refer you to a specialist for more hearing tests.
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The Hearing Loss Last After Ear Infection
Usually, many diseases take one or two days to recover. If it takes more than one or two days then its a time to consult a specialist. If diseases not treated very well or left untreated it may lead to major health diseases. Fluid formation in the middle ear called otitis media with effusion. After the infection in the middle ear, fluid may remain in the ear after clearance of infection and cause some major hearing Impairment if it persists for weeks or months.
Children with a middle ear infection can suffer from some degree of hearing loss. Normal deafness with fluid in ear occurs when hearing Impairment degree is 24 decibels. 45 decibels hearing loss occur when your ear is infected with thicker fluid buildup.
If your child cant understand your speech or speak loudly that he or she may be affected by hearing Impairment.
As your children cannot express verbally try to notice these things in your child such as fever, pulling the ears or scratching the ears, late response to sounds, flowing of fluid.
For adults and other older children`s try to notice these symptoms. Such as continuing earache, vomiting or simple nausea, dizziness, difficulty in understanding the conversations, pressure in ears.
Hearing loss caused by an ear infection is basically for a short period of time and reduces after the proper treatment. If you have an ear infection then your specialist suggests you some medicine or antibiotics which will reverse back your hearing Impairment.
Joy Victory Managing Editor Healthy Hearing
Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results to the public. She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.Read more about Joy.
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How Is Sudden Hearing Loss Diagnosed
Your doctor will perform a complete ENT exam and review your medical history. A hearing test will be performed to determine if you do have hearing loss, what part of the ear is involved, and how sever the hearing loss is. Routine labs and Xrays are usually not recommended. Less than 1% of the time sudden hearing loss is due to a benign tumor on the hearing and balance nerve. Your doctor may order an MRI to look for this tumor.
Healing Time In Different Sections Of The Ear
The infections persist in the middle, the outer and inner part of the ear. Every part has its unique features. As a result healing time also depends on the section of the ear.
- Outer Causes of outer ear infection are different from a middle ear infection. The most common type of infection in the outer ear is bacterial infections. But fungal and viral infections can occur as well. It can last for a week or longer. Its symptoms are severe pain in the ear, purulent discharge, fever, etc.
- Middle The infection shouldnt last more than one or two days. After an ear infection clears up, fluid may remain in the middle ear and cause some of the more mild symptoms and can persist for several weeks to months. This condition is diagnosed as otitis media with effusion. Its symptoms are ear pain, feeling like your ear is clogged, Nausea, Reduced Hearing.
- Inner The infection exists for a long time in this section. Most commonly, viral is the reason for the inner ear infection. These viruses can be most of the flu and cold. Its symptoms are pain, fever, and reduced hearing. Nausea and tinnitus can also occur in an inner ear infection.
The Eustachian tube drains fluid and air from the middle ear. Blockage in the Eustachian tube may cause fluid to build up. This causes pain since it applies pressure on the eardrum. The fluid is also a fertile ground for bacteria growth and this leads to an ear infection.
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Can This Permanent Damage Be Avoided
Most importantly, see a doctor if you believe that you have an ear infection. The sooner you get treatment, the better. Always have chronic ear infection checked out by a doctor. More damage is caused by more serious infections. Ear infections usually begin with allergies, sinus infections, and colds so take measures to prevent them. Its time to give up smoking because it causes chronic respiratory problems which will, in turn, lead to ear infections.
If youve had an ear infection and are still having difficulties hearing, see your doctor. Other things can cause conductive hearing loss, but it may be possible that you may have some damage. If it turns out its permanent, hearing aids will help you hear again. You should schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to get more info about hearing aids.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hearing Loss
It’s not always easy to tell if you’re losing your hearing.
Common signs include:
- difficulty hearing other people clearly, and misunderstanding what they say, especially in noisy places
- asking people to repeat themselves
- listening to music or watching television loudly
- having to concentrate hard to hear what other people are saying, which can be tiring or stressful
The signs can be slightly different if you only have hearing loss in 1 ear or if a young child has hearing loss.
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Treatments For Hearing Loss
Hearing loss sometimes gets better on its own, or may be treated with medicine or a simple procedure. For example, earwax can be sucked out, or softened with eardrops.
But other types such as gradual hearing loss, which often happens as you get older may be permanent. In these cases, treatment can help make the most of the remaining hearing. This may involve using:
- hearing aids several different types are available on the NHS or privately
- implants devices that are attached to your skull or placed deep inside your ear, if hearing aids are not suitable
- different ways of communicating such as sign language or lip reading