Doctor's Notes on Middle Ear Infection
Ear infection can involve the external canal, the eardrum, and/or the middle ear (also termed otitis media). The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum containing the ossicles (ear bones) and the opening to the Eustachian tube. Infection of the middle ear has signs and symptoms of pain, dizziness, and partial hearing loss. Other symptoms may include a fullness feeling in the ear, ringing in the ear, nausea, vomiting, and vertigo. Some individuals may develop discharge from the ear.
The causes of middle ear infections are mainly bacteria or viruses that get into the middle ear, often from the Eustachian tube or from the ear canal through a break in the eardrum (tympanic membrane).
What Are the Treatments for Middle Ear Infections?
Treatments for middle ear infections depends on several factors such as the child's age, temperature (temp) and the severity of symptoms. For example:
- Observe: no treatment
- Children 6-23 months; mild pain in one ear <48 hours and temp <102.2 F
- Children >24 months; mild pain in one or both ears <48 hours and a temp <102.2
- Pain control (Do not use aspirin for patients <18 years old.)
- Antibiotics (may be recommended by your doctor without the observation time): Treatment may depend on age. For patients >6 months with mild ear pain in one or both ears <48 hours, and a temp <102.2 F or a child 6 months and older with moderate to severe pain in one or both ears and a temp >102.2 F
- Ear tubes: for patients with repeated long-term infections and prevention of fluid buildup
- Antibiotic drops, fluid suction for difficult infections like suppurative otitis media
Ear Infection : Test Your Medical IQ QuizQuestion
Ear infection or acute otitis media is an infection of the middle ear.See Answer
Must Read Articles:
Decompression SicknessBarotrauma and decompression sickness refers to medical problems that occur during diving. These problems include decompression illness (the bends), external ear squeeze, middle ear squeeze, inner ear barotrauma, sinus squeeze, face mask squeeze, suit squeeze, lung squeeze, tooth squeeze, and gastric squeeze (aerogastralgia). Treatment is determined by the type of injury or medical problem.
Ear Pain, Scuba DivingEar pain or ear squeeze is a common complaint among scuba divers. Ear pain is typically caused by a failure to equalize pressure between the interior of the ear and the outside environment.
Ear SqueezeEar squeeze can effect a person while scuba diving. The adverse effects of pressure changes cause ear squeeze. Symptoms of ear squeeze include: ear pain, fullness in the ear, tinnitus, hearing loss, nausea, vomiting, vertigo, and a discharge from the nose, mouth, or ear. Medical care should be sought if a person suffers from ear squeeze.
Ear TubesEar infections are one of the most common infection in children. Environmental and anatomy problems occur and some children are prone to multiple ear infections. When this is the case, often, ear tubes surgery (myringotomy) is recommended. Parents and caregivers should prepare the child and themselves for the procedure. Knowing what to expect before, during, and after surgery is critical for proper healing.
Earache (Ear Pain)Earache is pain in the ear. An earache can be caused by infections or fungus. There are types of ear infections to include otitis externa, otitis externa (swimmer's ear), otitis media, and myringitis. Symptoms of an earache include pain in the ear, fever, fluid seeping from the ear, and headache. Treatment of earache depends on the cause.
Earwax (Excess Buildup and Blockage)Earwax, or cerumen, is a substance produced by the glands in the outer ear. Earwax has a purpose, and that is to trap dust and other small particles and prevent them from potentially damaging the eardrum. Causes of earwax buildup, blockage, or impaction include using Q tips or other objects to remove earwax. Symptoms of earwax buildup or blockage include decreased hearing, a fullness or plugged feeling in the ear, ear pain, dizziness, or ringing in the ear. Home remedies, over-the-counter (OTC) medication (drops), and excess earwax buildup and blockage removal by your health care professional are treatments for earwax buildup.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling TipsSafe scuba diving and snorkeling tips include protecting marine animals while enjoying the sport, equipment care, and emergency preparedness.
Sinus SqueezeSinus squeeze commonly occurs when a scuba diver cannot equalize sinus pressure due to nasal congestion. Symptoms of sinus squeeze include pressore or pain in the forehead, around the teeth, cheeks, or eyes, nosebleeds, and pressure or pain that increases as depth increases
Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)Swimmer's ear (also called otitis externa) is caused by a break in the skin lining the ear canal and outer ear, allowing bacteria or fungi to infect the ear. Excessive moisture in the ear, earplugs, headphones, hearing aids, and chemical hair dyes, bleaches, or shampoos may also cause swimmer's ear. The most common symptom of swimmer's ear is pain. Treatment depends on the extensiveness of the infection.
Tinnitus (Ringing, Clicking, in the Ears)Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is a cause for hearing loss. Tinnitus also can be caused by ear infections, exposure to loud noises, Meniere's disease, medications, brain tumors, TMJ, and other medical conditions. Treatment for tinnitus depends upon the cause.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.