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Ear Infections

Understanding Ear Infections: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments

Ear infections can be painful and frustrating, especially if they're recurrent. While they're common in children, adults can get them too. Let's delve into what ear infections are, their types, and how they can be treated.

1. What is an Ear Infection?

An ear infection is caused by bacteria or viruses affecting the ear. The infection usually starts after a throat infection, cold, or allergy attack. These can create congestion and swelling in the nasal passages, throat, and Eustachian tubes, leading to an ear infection.

2. Types of Ear Infections

Ear infections can occur in different parts of the ear, each with its own specific symptoms and treatments.

A. Outer Ear Infections (Swimmer's Ear)

This occurs in the outer ear canal and often starts from water that remains in the ear after swimming, creating a moist environment that aids bacterial growth. We recommend using swim plugs to help combat this. 

Symptoms include:

B. Middle Ear Infections (Otitis Media)

This infection happens behind the eardrum, where bacteria or viruses cause fluid and pus to accumulate. It's common in children but can affect adults too.

Symptoms include:

C. Inner Ear Infections (Labyrinthitis)

Although less common, inner ear infections can be severe, often resulting from a systemic viral illness or upper respiratory infection.

Symptoms include:

3. Diagnosing Ear Infections

If you or your child is showing symptoms of an ear infection, a consultation with our consultant audiologist is advised. The audiologist will use an otoscope to look into the ear and check for signs of infection.

4. Treating Ear Infections

Ear infection treatments vary based on the type of infection:

Remember, it's crucial to complete the entire course of antibiotics if prescribed, even if symptoms improve before the medication is finished.

If ear infections are recurrent or causing significant discomfort, it's worth reaching out to an audiologist for more in-depth advice. Our consultant audiologist, Eilene, at Buchanan Audiologists, can help diagnose and manage your condition. To find out more, call now on 01634 757045 to book a comprehensive hearing consultation. Early detection and proper treatment of ear infections can prevent complications and promote healthier ears.