Chronic Ear Infection is a condition that can be caused by allergies, sinusitis, ear injuries and bacterial infection. This can result in ruptured ear drum, hearing loss, balance function, facial inflammation or paralysis. Getting medical help quickly is necessary to maintain good hearing health.
Symptoms of Chronic Ear Infection
The symptoms will differ depending upon the type of ear infection. Also, the symptoms might be present in one or both the ears.
A chronic ear infection is usually caused because of the following reasons.
- An acute ear infection that does not completely heal. It is the most common type of ear infection where fluid builds up behind the eardrum causing painful earache.
- Repeated Ear Infection ( bacterial, viral and fungal infections)
Causes of Chronic Ear Infection
Chronic ear infections are developed from long lasting or recurrent acute ear infection.
When eustachian tube become clogged. This is the tube that runs from middle ear to the back of the throat.
These tubes are shorter and narrower in children so they are more likely to be affected by ear infection.
Fluid that gets build up in the middle ear can get infected which can cause pain and other symptoms.
Symptoms of Acute ear infection
- Ear Discharge
- Ear Pain
- Hearing Problems
Ear infection are common in children and they may show irritability or cry more frequently and tug at the affected ear.
Chronic symptoms of ear infection
- Delayed responses or taking long time to understand speech
- Poor Balance
- Limited Attention
- Decreased cognitive function in kids
Treatment for Chronic Ear Infection
Some ear infection resolves on their own while others may need attention.
Warm cloth applied against the ear or some over the counter painkillers can be helpful for temporary relief.
Your clinician/ surgeon will do the examination of the ear by using specialised instruments which will help him further decide the course of treatment. Clinician might advice you test like fluid cultures obtained by the swab from the ear looking for source of infection and computerised Tomography of the Head/ paranasal sinuses to determine the extent of the spread of the infection.
Antibiotics are prescribed to clear up any infection and sometimes it is in the form of ear drop particularly if the ear drum is perforated.
Surgery is advised in severe cases of chronic ear infection. The surgeon inserts small tube through a tiny hole in the ear drum, connecting middle ear to the outer ear to let the fluid drain out.(myringotomy / grommet tube insertion)
If the infection has spread more surgery is needed to repair or replace ear drum or tiny bones which is called tympanoplasty.
Stop smoking and reduce exposure to second hand smoke. Maintain good hygiene, Breastfeed infants to reduce upper respiratory illness. Make sure vaccination of the child is complete.
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