Treatment For Inner Ear Infection
Infection in the ear is likely to occur in any of the three parts of the ear outer, middle and inner parts of the ear. Also, infection in the ear is a serious matter.
Therefore, it is important to treat the infection in order to prevent complications, which includes damaging or rupturing the eardrum and much more.
Diagnosis is a prior process of treatment. An audiologist will observe your ears with an otoscope. Then it will be followed by the hearing test. Your treatment will depend on the underlying causes of infections.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with an inner ear infection are advised to go for proper treatment.
Availing treatment for infection of the inner ear is mandatory for both children and adults. This is greatly achieved by seeking a professional doctor at a healthcare institution in your area.
In addition to using antibiotics, other medications may also be given to persons having an infection in the inner ear in order to reduce swelling and inflammation.
These are useful to treat an inner ear infection, to reduce swelling and inflammation, to treat nausea and vomiting, and to help eliminate dizziness and vertigo.
Following are some methods you can use to treat your inner ear infection:
What Happens If My Child Keeps Getting Ear Infections
To keep a middle ear infection from coming back, it helps to limit some of the factors that might put your child at risk, such as not being around people who smoke and not going to bed with a bottle. In spite of these precautions, some children may continue to have middle ear infections, sometimes as many as five or six a year. Your doctor may want to wait for several months to see if things get better on their own but, if the infections keep coming back and antibiotics arent helping, many doctors will recommend a surgical procedure that places a small ventilation tube in the eardrum to improve air flow and prevent fluid backup in the middle ear. The most commonly used tubes stay in place for six to nine months and require follow-up visits until they fall out.
If placement of the tubes still doesnt prevent infections, a doctor may consider removing the adenoids to prevent infection from spreading to the eustachian tubes.
When To See A Doctor
- Stiff neck
- Severe ear pain
- A fever over 104 degrees F . Note: A baby under three months of age who has a temperature over 100.4 degrees F is an emergency situation and needs immediate medical attention, even if no other symptoms are present.
- acts sluggish, looks or acts very sick, or is crying and cannot be soothed
- Walk is not steady
- Signs of facial weakness
- Bloody or pus-filled fluid draining from the ear
- You feel you or your child needs immediate medical attention
- Symptoms are not better or have gotten worse after two to three days
- You feel you or your child needs to be seen by a healthcare provider
- You have any questions or concerns
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How Is An Ear Infection Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will examine your ears, head, neck, and mouth. He or she will also ask you to describe your symptoms. You may also need the following:
- Audiometry is a test used to check for hearing loss. Sounds are played at different volumes to check how much you can hear.
- Tympanometry is a test used to check pressure changes in your inner ear.
Ear Infection Home Treatments And Remedies
Ear infections can occur in the outer ear , middle ear , and inner ear . Natural and home remedies to treat pain include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen
- Applying a warm compress on the infected ear.
- Applying naturopathic ear drops with ginger, tea tree, or olive oil may help with pain and inflammation.
Talk with your doctor or pediatrician before using any herbal or naturopathic medicine for ear infections.
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What Are The Types Of Middle
Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways. They are:
Acute otitis media. This middle-ear infection occurs suddenly. It causes swelling and redness. Fluid and mucus become trapped inside the ear. You can have a fever and ear pain.
Otitis media with effusion. Fluid and mucus build up in the middle ear after the infection goes away. You may feel like your middle ear is full. This can continue for months and may affect your hearing.
Chronic otitis media with effusion. Fluid remains in the middle ear for a long time. Or it builds up again and again, even though there is no infection. This type of middle-ear infection may be hard to treat. It may also affect your hearing.
How Can I Tell If My Child Has An Ear Infection
Most ear infections happen to children before theyve learned how to talk. If your child isnt old enough to say My ear hurts, here are a few things to look for:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Fussiness and crying
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Clumsiness or problems with balance
- Trouble hearing or responding to quiet sounds
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What Causes Otitis Media With Effusion In Adults
As mentioned, Eustachian Tube Dysfunction is often the most common cause of fluid behind eardrum, adults group especially. The Eustachian tube delivers three essential physiological functions within the body, which is the equilibration of pressure between the external and middle ears, secretion and cleansing, and protection of the middle ear. Abnormalities can occur in the region due to blockage, trauma, inflammation, or infection, among other things. The condition often develops after sever upper respiratory infection, allergic reactions, or rapid changes in air pressure .
The Eustachian tube connects the ear to the throat, and it helps to drain fluid from the ear and into the throat where it can be swallowed, this helps to prevent the accumulation of fluid within the ear. This condition is connected with ear infection in two ways:
- After the treatment of many ear infections, fluid will remain in the middle ear for several days.
- When the Eustachian tube becomes partially blocked, fluid begins to accumulate in the middle ear. Bacteria can then begin to accumulate within the liquid, which can result in an infection.
The following can lead to inflammation of the Eustachian tube lining, which can lead to an increase of fluid in the area:
- Respiratory infections
Certain things we do can cause the Eustachian tube to become blocked, or close. These include:
- Drinking fluids whilst laying on your back
- A sudden increase in air pressure .
Symptoms Of Ear Infections
- The main symptom is an earache.
- Younger children will cry, act fussy or have trouble sleeping because of pain.
- About 50% of children with an ear infection will have a fever.
- Complication: In 5% to 10% of children, the eardrum will develop a small tear. This is from the pressure in the middle ear. The ear then drains cloudy fluid or pus. This small hole most often heals over in 2 or 3 days.
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Can Ear Infections Affect Hearing
Fluid buildup in the middle ear also blocks sound, which can lead to temporary hearing problems. Kids having a problem might:
- not respond to soft sounds
- need to turn up the TV or radio
- talk louder
- seem inattentive at school
In kids who have otitis media with effusion, the fluid behind the eardrum can block sound, so mild temporary hearing loss can happen, but might not be obvious.
A child whose eardrum has ruptured might have ringing or buzzing in the ear and not hear as well as usual.
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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How Is An Acute Middle Ear Infection Treated
Many doctors will prescribe an antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, to be taken over seven to 10 days. Your doctor also may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or eardrops, to help with fever and pain.
If your doctor isnt able to make a definite diagnosis of OM and your child doesnt have severe ear pain or a fever, your doctor might ask you to wait a day or two to see if the earache goes away. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines in 2013 that encourage doctors to observe and closely follow these children with ear infections that cant be definitively diagnosed, especially those between the ages of 6 months to 2 years. If theres no improvement within 48 to 72 hours from when symptoms began, the guidelines recommend doctors start antibiotic therapy. Sometimes ear pain isnt caused by infection, and some ear infections may get better without antibiotics. Using antibiotics cautiously and with good reason helps prevent the development of bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics.
If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, its important to make sure your child takes it exactly as prescribed and for the full amount of time. Even though your child may seem better in a few days, the infection still hasnt completely cleared from the ear. Stopping the medicine too soon could allow the infection to come back. Its also important to return for your childs follow-up visit, so that the doctor can check if the infection is gone.
What Is The Inner Ear
Your inner ear plays an important role in your hearing and balance. Its primary function is to receive sound waves that come in through the outer ear and go through the middle ear, where the sound makes your eardrum vibrate. These vibrations travel to the inner ear, which transmits them to the brain as nerve impulses.
Your inner ear is a labyrinth of fluid-filled tubes and sacs. It has three main parts:
- The cochlea, a shell-shaped structure that sends sound impulses to the brain
- The semicircular canals, which use your heads movement to sense your position in space
- The vestibule, which is your primary balance system
Messages run through this system to the brain by way of the vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve has two branches. One is responsible for hearing and one for balance. An inner ear infection happens when this nerve or the structures around it get irritated or inflamed.
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What Increases Your Risk
Some things that increase your child’s risk of a middle ear infection are out of your control. These include:
- Being 3 years old or younger.
- Birth defects or other medical conditions, such as cleft palate or Down syndrome.
- A weakened immune system.
- A family history of ear infections.
- Allergies that cause long-term stuffiness in the nose and can block one or both eustachian tubes.
- Repeated colds and upper respiratory infections.
Other things can increase your child’s risk of ear infection. They include:
- Being exposed to cigarette smoke.
- Lying flat while bottle feeding.
- Using a pacifier.
- Using a bottle instead of breastfeeding.
Things that increase the risk of repeated ear infections include:
- Being in a childcare center with many other children.
- Getting the first ear infection before 6 months of age.
- Having persistent fluid behind the eardrum.
- Having an ear infection in the last 3 months, especially if it was treated with antibiotics.
Inner Ear Causes Of Dizziness
Some of the most common causes of dizziness arise from problems in your inner ear. A disturbance in the blood circulation or fluid pressure in the inner ear can trigger dizziness and tinnitus. For example, a bad cold can swell your inner ears and lead to bouts of dizziness. You might also experience dizziness if there is pressure on the nerves responsible for delivering balance information to your brain.
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When Do Children Need Tubes In Their Ears
If your child has frequent ear infections, or if they have trouble hearing because of ongoing fluid in the middle ear, they may need a tube inserted through the eardrum and into the middle ear. The tube helps to keep air pressure normal on both sides of the ear drum and helps fluid drain from the middle ear.
Putting tubes in requires a brief operation by an ear, nose and throat surgeon. Children can usually go home the same day.
How Is Tinnitus Diagnosed
The patients history and description of symptoms is the key in determining what might be causing tinnitus.
The health-care professional may ask questions in regard to the quality of the abnormal sound, and whether it is constantly present or whether it comes and goes. Other questions may include the following:
- Does it involve one or both ears?
- Does the sound pulsate, or does it sound like a rush or flow?
- Does it click?
- Has there been recurrent exposure to loud noises or sound at work, at home or at play?
- Is there associated decreased hearing or hearing loss?
- Does the person feel a sensation of spinning ?
Medications: Be prepared to provide the health-care professional a list of medications including over-the-counter and supplements to review since tinnitus may be a side effect of certain medications.
Physical exam: Physical examination will focus on the head and neck, and especially the ears, including the auditory canals and tympanic membranes. Since the sense of hearing is conducted through one of the cranial nerves , a careful neurologic exam also may be performed. Weakness or numbness in the face, mouth, and neck may be associated with a tumor or other structural abnormality pressing on a nerve. The healthcare professional may listen to the flow in the carotid arteries in the neck for an abnormal sound , since carotid artery stenosis can transmit a sound to the ear that may cause tinnitus.
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Can Tinnitus Be Prevented
Repeated loud noise exposure can be a cause of tinnitus as well as hearing loss. Loud music may cause short term symptoms, but repeated occupational exposure requires less intense sound levels to cause potential hearing damage leading to tinnitus. Minimizing sound exposure, therefore, decreases the risk of developing tinnitus. Sound protection equipment, like acoustic ear-muffs, may be appropriate at work and at home when exposed to loud noises.
A variety of medications may be ototoxic and cause tinnitus. If tinnitus develops while you are taking a medication, stop the medication and discuss other options with your health-care professional.
Can I Treat An Ear Infection At Home
You can treat some outer and middle ear infections at home with remedies and over-the-counter medication for symptoms like pain and inflammation.
Swimmers ear home treatment
Usually, prolonged and recurrent immersion in water causes outer ear infections. The primary treatment for swimmers ear is to avoid getting water in the ear canal until the ear pain is gone.
An outer ear infection may take several days to heal, but the pain usually is gone within one week. Moreover, the warmer the water, the higher the likelihood of getting swimmers ear, for example, people who swim in the summer are more likely to develop an outer ear infection than wintertime surfers.
Middle ear infection home treatment
Numerous studies have shown that viruses cause middle ear infections. Pain management for ear pain for two or three days will allow the bodys natural immune system to fight and cure the infection, much like the common cold. However, some people with middle ear infections may need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional for medical treatment.
Inner ear infection and labyrinthitis home treatment
Inner ear infections and labyrinthitis usually treat inner ear infections in adults and children.
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When To Call The Doctor
In diagnosing ear swelling, it is very important to know the timeline of the swelling progressing, and anything that may have happened around that time. Did the patient have insect bites after an outdoor hike before their ear started to swell? Was the teenager wearing ear protection while wrestling prior to ear swelling? Have there been fevers and is the ear very warm to the touch? Dr. Lee
Consider calling your doctor or go to urgent care if:
- The swelling lasts for more than 24 hours
- Your ear is sticking out at an unusual angle
- Youre having trouble hearing
- You feel dizzy
- You have a bump or rash on the ear that doesnt go away
- Theres bloody or foul-smelling discharge coming from the ear