An ear infection happens when bacteria or virus affects the middle ear which is the part of your ear just behind the eardrum. There is fluid build-up, swelling and redness, mostly caused by the common cold or allergies. Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
Bacteria or virus cause an ear infection in the middle ear.
Possible ear infection causes include:
Those who are at a higher risk:
Signs & Symptoms:
Signs and symptoms in children are different from those seen when there are ear infections in adults.
For a proper diagnosis of an ear infection, visit the ENT clinic at Medcare. The diagnosis considers your symptoms and a physical examination of ears, throat and nasal passage.
Doctors use an instrument called a pneumatic otoscope which helps them diagnose an ear infection. Diagnosis helps to understand what type of ear infection is present and whether it is an outer or middle or inner ear infection.
Other tests to confirm that there is a middle ear infection are: tympanometry, acoustic reflectometry, or tympanocentesis which can be helpful if previous treatments have been unsuccessful. Other tests: children may be referred to an audiologist, a speech therapist or for tests of language comprehension or developmental abilities.
At Medcare, an ENT specialist will prescribe the right treatment based on the kind of ear infection. The different types of ear infection are:
Only in chronic cases will the ENT specialist recommend a surgery. This is a minor surgical procedure called a myringotomy, where our surgeon creates a tiny hole in the eardrum to drain out fluids from the middle ear.
A tympanostomy tube is placed in the opening to help open the middle ear and prevent more fluid from collecting.
A: People who often have ear infections may experience some hearing loss. In small children this may affect their speech. Untreated infections can spread to nearby tissues or the ear-drums may tear.
A: Inculcate the habit of washing hands frequently in your children. It is also best to avoid sharing of eating and drinking utensils with other children. Make sure that no one smokes in your home.
Breast milk contains antibodies that offer protection from ear infections, so breastfeed your baby for at least six months. Hold your baby in an upright position while bottle-feeding. Seasonal flu shots, pneumococcal and other bacterial vaccines may help prevent ear infections.
A: A tympanometry is a test that measures the movement of the tympanic membrane, commonly called ear-drum. Tympanometry is used to diagnose disorders causing hearing loss. The air pressure in the ear is varied to cause the tympanic membrane to move. These movements are measured and recorded on a graph called a tympanogram. The test takes only a few minutes.