Effective Treatment for Ear Infections
When a patient begins to feel painful sensations in the ear, it is most commonly an ear infection. Although ear infections are more prevalent among children, adults can experience them as well. They can sometimes clear up on their own, but it is important to seek medical help if the symptoms last for more than a day, the pain is severe, or if it is affecting your normal sleep patterns. For infants and toddlers, you should seek treatment immediately to ensure that there are no long-term effects. The specialists at Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat provide treatment for ear infections at their Baltimore, MD-area practice to quickly alleviate painful symptoms. If you or your child is suffering from ear pain, please contact our office to make an appointment with one of our doctors.
Common Causes of Ear Infections
Ear infections are most commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear, the eardrum, or the ear canal. Ear infections can also be caused by pressure changes when flying or scuba diving, or by direct contact injuries. When it is a bacterial or viral infection, it often results from another illness, such as a cold, flu, or allergy. This can cause congestion and swelling of the nasal passageways, the throat, and the eustachian tubes (the thin canals that run from high in the back of the throat to the middle ear). The eustachian tubes regulate air pressure and drain normal secretions from the middle ear. When inflammation, swelling, and mucus from an illness blocks the tubes, it can cause an accumulation of fluids in the middle ear. When this fluid is infected, it produces the painful symptoms of an ear infection. This condition is more common in children because their eustachian tubes are narrower, leading them to become clogged more easily.
Possible Complications Resulting from Ear Infections
While most ear infections do not cause long-term problems, patients who suffer from persistent infections can eventually experience serious complications:
- Impaired Hearing - Frequent ear infections can damage the eardrum, leading to significant hearing loss.
- Speech & Developmental Delays - Infants and toddlers may experience delays in speech and developmental skills if their hearing is impaired by ear infections.
- Spreading of Infection - Infections of the ear can spread to other areas of the body.
- Eardrum Tearing - Tearing can occur because of ear infections. Some tears will require surgery.
Treatments for Ear Infection
To alleviate the painful symptoms, one of our doctors may recommend a warm compress and may prescribe pain medication or prescription-strength ear drops. For more serious infections, our specialists will typically prescribe antibiotic treatment to eliminate harmful bacteria.
For children who are especially prone to recurrent ear infections, your doctor may suggest PE tubes. This treatment involves an outpatient surgical procedure to place tiny tubes in the eardrums to drain fluids from the middle ear.
Contact our Office
If you are experiencing ear pain, or are concerned about your child's recurring infections, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.