Ear infection is common in adults and children. As it can be very painful, it is better to know the symptoms of an ear infection to take precautions on time.
Ear infection is medically known as otitis media. It happens mostly in the middle ear. It is the space that is filled with air and is located behind the eardrum. An ear infection is either bacterial or viral. It becomes quite painful due to inflammation in the middle ear and due to the formation and collection of the fluids. As this is a common occurrence, it is always better to be aware of the symptoms of an ear infection so that the person can start off with the treatments and also so that he/she does not experience a lot of pain.
Signs in Adults
Even though these problems are common in children and in babies, they can also take place in adults. This condition occurs when bacteria or virus enters the middle ear and causes problems. Bacteria enters the ear through the Eustachian tube, which is the tube that links the pharynx to the middle ear. This tube is usually closed and it opens to balance the pressure of air in the ear and to drain the mucus. Bacteria can enter in one of these two instances and result in an infection.
- Ear Pain: Adults experience pain due to the inflammation in the middle ear. If it is too severe, medical attention is advised.
- Sore Throat: Sore throat is the result of this problem. The bacteria that causes this condition also inflames the throat and causes a sore throat.
- Blocked Ears: Due to the fluid accumulation in the middle ear, the person experiences blockage.
- Ear Discharge: It is all the fluid and pus that gets collected behind the eardrum. This discharge leaks from the ear due to the increasing pressure of the accumulated fluids. This is called the ear discharge.
- Dull Hearing: This condition causes temporary hearing loss. This is caused because sound cannot travel through the middle and the inner ear, as they are filled with fluid. Hence, the person cannot hear clearly.
- Fever: The person is most likely to develop fever. This happens again, due to the accumulated fluids and mucus in the ear. This fever can lead to dizziness too.
If a person shows any of these signs, it is recommended that he/she consults the doctors and starts with medication as soon as possible to avoid any problems later.
Signs in Children
This condition is very common in infants. This is because their Eustachian tubes are shorter than those of the adults. The tube is horizontal, which makes the fluid drainage complicated and difficult. It is estimated that every child has this problem before he/she turns three.
- Ear Pain: Babies experience an acute pain in the ear.
- Tugging at the Ear: Babies tug and pull at their ears for no apparent reason.
- Difficulty in Sleeping: Babies cannot sleep well due to the extreme pain that they experience. Also, when they lie down to sleep, the pain may increase. This pain may not let them sleep properly.
- Loss of Appetite: Because of the pain in the ear, the babies might find it difficult to swallow. The pain may intensify while swallowing. This results in the babies not eating much.
- Fever: Fever accompanies this medical condition. In the babies, the temperature can be higher than in the adults. Fever can also lead to nausea.
- Diarrhea: Diarrhea can happen due to the virus or bacteria that has caused this problem, to enter into the digestive system of the baby. Diarrhea cannot be ruled out, as it is very easy for the bacteria to enter the stomach, as the Eustachian tube is horizontal.
- Discharge: As is true with the adults, discharge can be seen in the ears of the babies as well.
It is not advisable to ignore any of these signs. It is necessary to rush the baby to the emergency room when he/she shows these indications so that there are no complications later.
An inner ear infection is called labyrinthitis. In simple words, it is the inflammation of the inner ear. The human inner ear consists of small tubes and tunnels, called labyrinth, which are responsible to carry sounds to the brain. The brain then comprehends these sounds and also determines the location of the sounds. Labyrinthitis is caused when these tubes and tunnels get infected. Its signs are very different from the other similar disorders due to the following reasons:
- Vertigo: Vertigo is the result of the total disruption of the labyrinth due to the inflammation in the inner ear.
- Dizziness: Dizziness is also the aftermath of the inflammation in the inner ear. The inner ear cannot function well and causes severe dizziness.
- Tinnitus: Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ear or in the head, the source of which is not from the outer side of the head. An inner ear problem causes tinnitus due to the inflammation.
- Aural Fullness: In simple words, aural fullness is the feeling of fullness in the ears. This happens due to the infection.
- Otorrhea: Otorrhea is ear discharge. A lot of ear discharge is the sign of this medical condition.
- Facial Weakness: In severe cases, this condition spread to the surrounding areas and is capable of causing facial weakness when they cause facial paralysis. This can also lead to asymmetry in the face.
- Neck Pain: This condition causes severe pain and stiffness in the neck. One of the signs of this condition is neck pain, and it should not be ignored.
As you can see, there are several signs of otits media. As mentioned above, it is advised that they should not be ignored, as they can lead to further complications. In worst cases, the person may lose completely, the ability to hear. When the signs show, seek immediate medical assistance.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.