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What Is An Inner Ear Infection

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Two Home Remedies For Earaches That Are Best Left On The Shelf

What Is an Inner Ear Infection? | Ear Problems

1.OTC numbing drops

Dr. Nguyen-Huynh recommendsavoiding numbing drops. The effect is very brief, and sometimes it does theopposite and stings the ear.


Be it garlic, tea tree or olive people swear by putting oil in the ear to help with ear infections. Whilegarlic does have antibacterial properties, Dr. Nguyen-Huynh urges caution. If youreusing it for a middle ear infection, it wont get to the source of the problem.And even if you do have a hole in your eardrum, there arent studies showingits safe to put garlic in there.

Why Are Children More Likely Than Adults To Get Ear Infections

There are several reasons why children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.

Eustachian tubes are smaller and more level in children than they are in adults. This makes it difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear, even under normal conditions. If the eustachian tubes are swollen or blocked with mucus due to a cold or other respiratory illness, fluid may not be able to drain.

A childs immune system isnt as effective as an adults because its still developing. This makes it harder for children to fight infections.

As part of the immune system, the adenoids respond to bacteria passing through the nose and mouth. Sometimes bacteria get trapped in the adenoids, causing a chronic infection that can then pass on to the eustachian tubes and the middle ear.

How Is Chronic Otitis Media Treated

The first step in treating chronic otitis media is a thorough evaluation by an ENT physician. This will include a history and examination of the ear, nose, and throat. Depending on the individualâs unique situation, further testing may include a hearing test, tympanometry , or CT scan.

Treatment depends upon the severity of the disease. In the beginning, the causes of eustachian tube obstruction should be treated to prevent progression of chronic otitis media. Many children and adults with chronic or recurrent ear infections have ventilation tubes inserted in their eardrums to allow normal air exchange in the middle ear until the eustachian tube matures or underlying causes of the eustachian tube dysfunction can be treated.

If the disease has progressed enough to cause damage to the eardrum or ear bones, more intensive treatment is usually needed. Once the active infection is controlled, surgery is usually recommended.

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When To Call The Doctor For An Ear Infection

Some symptoms of an inner ear infection can be the same as a stroke. If you have vomiting, headache, vision changes, fever, weakness in one side of your body, slurred speech or are unable to walk, seek medical care right away.

Infections involving high fever, discharge or bleeding from the ear canal, headache, vomiting, dizziness, loss of hearing, or severe pain should be seen by a doctor. A doctor should see most people with an inner ear infection.

What Should I Expect If I Or My Child Has An Ear Infection

Ear Infection

Ear infections are common in children. Adults can get them too. Most ear infections are not serious. Your healthcare provider will recommend over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and fever. Pain relief may begin as soon as a few hours after taking the drug.

Your healthcare provider may wait a few days before prescribing an antibiotic. Many infections go away on their own without the need for antibiotics. If you or your child receives an antibiotic, you should start to see improvement within two to three days.

If you or your child has ongoing or frequent infections, or if fluid remains in the middle ear and puts hearing at risk, ear tubes may be surgically implanted in the eardrum to keep fluid draining from the eustachian tube as it normally should.

Never hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions.

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Treating Outer Ear Infections

The outer ear should be carefully cleaned. That should be followed by the application of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory medications on your ear.

Antibiotics may be prescribed if your doctor determines that the infection is bacterial.

If you have a viral infection, you may simply need to tend to the irritation on your ear and wait for the infection to resolve itself. Depending on the type of virus involved, more specialized treatment may be necessary.

Symptoms Of Otitis Media With Effusion

OME may have no symptoms at all. Some hearing loss may occur, but it is often fluctuating and hard to detect. The only sign to a parent that the condition exists may be when a child complains of plugged up hearing. Other symptoms can include loud talking, not responding to verbal commands, and turning up the television or radio.

Older children with OME may have difficulty targeting specific sounds in a noisy room. In such cases, some parents or teachers may attribute their behavior to lack of attention or even to an attention deficit disorder. Older children and adults may also notice a sense of fullness in the ear. OME is often diagnosed during a regular pediatric visit.

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How Can I Make My Dogs Ear Infection Feel Better

Treatment Eardrops. Medicated eardrops containing antibiotics, antifungals and anti-inflammatories help to clear swelling and pain. Ear cleaning. Its important to keep the inside of your dogs ears clean while they heal. Anti-inflammatory pain relief. Antibiotic tablets. Treating the underlying cause.

How Does A Doctor Diagnose A Middle Ear Infection

What Is a Middle Ear Infection? | Ear Problems

The first thing a doctor will do is ask you about your childs health. Has your child had a head cold or sore throat recently? Is he having trouble sleeping? Is she pulling at her ears? If an ear infection seems likely, the simplest way for a doctor to tell is to use a lighted instrument, called an otoscope, to look at the eardrum. A red, bulging eardrum indicates an infection.

A doctor also may use a pneumatic otoscope, which blows a puff of air into the ear canal, to check for fluid behind the eardrum. A normal eardrum will move back and forth more easily than an eardrum with fluid behind it.

Tympanometry, which uses sound tones and air pressure, is a diagnostic test a doctor might use if the diagnosis still isnt clear. A tympanometer is a small, soft plug that contains a tiny microphone and speaker as well as a device that varies air pressure in the ear. It measures how flexible the eardrum is at different pressures.

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Treating Inner Ear Infections And Vertigo

Like most ear infections, an inner ear infection will generally go away on its own within 1-3 weeks. Medications can be used to help manage some of the pain and inflammation. And vestibular rehabilitation for treating the lingering dizziness, vertigo, or imbalance.

Your best resource is your primary care physician who can recognize inflammation in the ear and recommend possible treatments.

If youre also experiencing vertigo alongside ear pain, then an inner ear infection is possible. In this case, Otolaryngologists or Vestibular Specialists are your best resource for identifying if the inner ear is impacted.

Read more about Labyrinthitis Treatment here.

Our clinic, the Dizzy & Vertigo Institute, is well-equipped to diagnose and treat Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis.

Our staff of vestibular specialists can help regain your quality of life.

Give us a call at 954-2207 or schedule an appointment here.

We look forward to helping you!

Symptoms And Onset Of Viral Neuritis Or Labyrinthitis

Symptoms of viral neuritis can be mild or severe, ranging from subtle dizziness to a violent spinning sensation . They can also include nausea, vomiting, unsteadiness and imbalance, difficulty with vision, and impaired concentration.

Sometimes the symptoms can be so severe that they affect the ability to stand up or walk. Viral labyrinthitis may produce the same symptoms, along with tinnitus and/or hearing loss.

Acute phase

Onset of symptoms is usually very sudden, with severe dizziness developing abruptly during routine daily activities. In other cases, the symptoms are present upon awakening in the morning. The sudden onset of such symptoms can be very frightening many people go to the emergency room or visit their physician on the same day.

Chronic phase

After a period of gradual recovery that may last several weeks, some people are completely free of symptoms. Others have chronic dizziness if the virus has damaged the vestibular nerve.

Many people with chronic neuritis or labyrinthitis have difficulty describing their symptoms, and often become frustrated because although they may look healthy, they dont feel well. Without necessarily understanding the reason, they may observe that everyday activities are fatiguing or uncomfortable, such as walking around in a store, using a computer, being in a crowd, standing in the shower with their eyes closed, or turning their head to converse with another person at the dinner table.

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Perforation Of The Eardrum In Outer Ear Infection And Middle Ear Infection

There is a risk of eardrum perforation in middle ear infection and outer ear infection. When there is a perforation of the eardrum, the pain in the ear will come down, and ear discharge will start. The discharge could be watery or pus type. You need to consult the doctor immediately. When treated ASAP, the eardrum can heal itself. Else, you might need major surgery to close the perforation.

Why Do Children Get Many More Ear Infections Than Adults Will My Child Always Get Ear Infections

Ear Infection (Middle Ear) Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment ...

Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections for these reasons:

  • The eustachian tubes in young children are shorter and more horizontal. This shape encourages fluid to gather behind the eardrum.
  • The immune system of children, which in the bodys infection-fighting system, is still developing.
  • The adenoids in children are relatively larger than they are in adults. The adenoids are the small pads of tissue above the throat and behind the nose and near the eustachian tubes. As they swell to fight infection, they may block the normal ear drainage from the eustachian tube into the throat. This blockage of fluid can lead to a middle ear infection.

Most children stop getting ear infections by age 8.

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Diagnosis For Dog Ear Infections

Inner ear infections are diagnosed by a veterinarian by using head X-rays and physical examinations with an otoscope. The dog has to be anesthetized in order to flush the ear and examine it. The vet can confirm inner ear infection if the ear drum is found infected, discolored and full of fluid. Its not always necessary that the dog hasan outer ear infection but its common for a dog with an inner ear infection to have outer ear infection as well.

What Research Is Being Done On Middle Ear Infections

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders are exploring many areas to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of middle ear infections. For example, finding better ways to predict which children are at higher risk of developing an ear infection could lead to successful prevention tactics.

Another area that needs exploration is why some children have more ear infections than others. For example, Native American and Hispanic children have more infections than do children in other ethnic groups. What kinds of preventive measures could be taken to lower the risks?

Doctors also are beginning to learn more about what happens in the ears of children who have recurring ear infections. They have identified colonies of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, called biofilms, that are present in the middle ears of most children with chronic ear infections. Understanding how to attack and kill these biofilms would be one way to successfully treat chronic ear infections and avoid surgery.

Understanding the impact that ear infections have on a childs speech and language development is another important area of study. Creating more accurate methods to diagnose middle ear infections would help doctors prescribe more targeted treatments. Researchers also are evaluating drugs currently being used to treat ear infections, and developing new, more effective and easier ways to administer medicines.

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Neurologic Findings And Complications

Neurologic complications in patients with inadequately treated bacterial meningitis can be severe and disabling. Cranial nerve abnormalities, involving principally the third, fourth, sixth, or seventh nerve, occur in 5 to 10% of adults with community-acquired meningitis and usually disappear shortly after recovery. Persistent sensorineural hearing loss occurs in 10% of children with bacterial meningitis, and another 16% have transient conductive hearing loss. The most likely sites of involvement in patients with persistent sensorineural deafness appear to be the inner ear and the acoustic nerve. In children, permanent hearing impairment is more common after meningitis caused by S. pneumoniae than by H. influenzae or N. meningitidis.

Seizures occur in 20 to 30% of patients and may result from reversible causes or, more commonly, from focal cerebral injury related to arterial hypoperfusion and infarction, cortical venous thrombosis, or focal edema and cerebritis. Seizures can occur during the first few days or can appear with associated focal neurologic deficits caused by vascular inflammation some days after onset of the meningitis. In adults with seizures accompanying meningitis, S. pneumoniae is more commonly the cause, but alcohol withdrawal is a confounding factor.

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How Does Chronic Otitis Media Occur

Middle Ear Infection

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.

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Neuroimaging Of Central Nervous System Infections

In uncomplicated bacterial meningitis, CT scans are usually sufficient for clinical management to exclude cerebral edema, hydrocephalus, and base of skull pathology . Other findings include subdural effusions, brain stem encephalitis with Listeria infection, and cortical infarcts secondary to vasculitis in up to 20% of cases . CT or MR venography should be considered to diagnose complicating cerebral venous sinus thrombosis.

MR DWI shows parenchymal complications of meningitis, such as infarcts of septic vasculitis earlier than other sequences. Encephalitis, cerebritis, and TB are DWI-hyperintense neurocysticercosis lesions are DWI-hypointense. Toxoplasmosis is variable, whereas lymphoma shows no restriction of water diffusion . MR angiography can suggest vasculitis. Ventriculitis is detected best by T2 fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images showing periventricular hyperintensity on ependymal enhancement and irregular intraventricular debris .

In cases of acute HSV encephalitis, FLAIR or T2-weighted sequences showing asymmetrical changes of necrotizing encephalitis in the first 48 hours may be diagnostic. Diffusion abnormalities disappear within 14 days after symptom onset, while T2 hyperintensities persist . Single photon emission CT may indicate hyperperfusion suggestive of inflammation and neuronal injury in the temporal and frontal lobes relatively early, although half of scans are normal in the acute stage, and hyperperfusion is a nonspecific finding .

How Is An Inner Ear Infection Treated

Inner ear infections are mostly caused by viruses, so there is no role for antibiotics . But the good news is that the infection usually resolves on its own in a few days.

And while you are recovering, there are medicines that can help decrease your symptoms:

Sometimes, steroids are prescribed to decrease the inflammation from inner ear infections. But there is no convincing evidence that shows this helps, and so this treatment remains controversial.

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Home Remedies For Ear Infections

A number of home remedies for ear infections may help ease your childs pain. Ear infection home remedies include:

  • Warm oil: Place a few drops of room temperature or slightly warmed sesame or olive oil in the affected ear. You should not do this if your child has a ruptured eardrum or has fluid draining from their ear.
  • Warm compress: Place a moist and warm compress over your childs ear for 10-15 minutes to help reduce pain.
  • Head elevation: If the ear infection is accompanied by a cold, you can improve your childs sinus drainage and promote ear fluid drainage by slightly elevating their crib or bed. Do so by placing a pillow or two beneath the mattress.
  • Hydration: Swallowing helps open the eustachian tube, allowing drainage of the trapped fluid.
  • Thin out mucus: Run a humidifier to add moisture to the air.You may also spray saline mist directly in your childs nose to help mucus flow and drain more easily.

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