Ear infections are very common affecting both children and adults

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Ear infections are very common affecting both children and adults

Common symptoms include:

  • Earache, which sometimes can be severe
  • Hearing loss and occasionally noise in the ear
  • Imbalance/dizziness with the sensation of nausea which maybe troublesome
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Blocked and/or pressure sensation in the ear

Causes and Site of Ear Infections

These include bacterial, fungal and viral infections caused by:

  • Trauma – excessive cleaning of the ear, accidental injury etc
  • Contaminated water from swimming pools or other sources, even bath water
  • Severe cold and flu
  • Skin conditions such as eczema predispose to infections

Depending on the part of the ear that is affected, the ear infection can be classified as those affecting the:

  • Outer ear (otitis externa) where the ear canal is mainly affected
  • Middle ear infections (otitis media) where the part of the ear between the eardrum and the inner ear is affected
  • Inner ear infections (loosely called labyrinthitis) affect the inner ear
  • Symptoms to a great degree depend on the part of the ear that is affected
  • Occasionally more than one part may be affected

Treatment of Ear Infections

The treatment depends on the cause and some other factors:

  • Outer ear infections often need clearing the ear canal to remove pus and debris before using eardrops. If the ear canal is extremely swollen, a wick may be inserted to instill the drops in. Oral antibiotics are not usually required as drops form the mainstay of treatment
  • Middle ear infections will often require oral antibiotics and sometimes the middle ear may have to be drained under anaesthetic
  • Inner ear infections generally tend to be viral in origin and resolve spontaneously, although this may take a few weeks

Complications of ear infections

Occasionally ear infections may result in:

  • Reduced hearing, permanent deafness and prolonged dizziness
  • Chronic discharge from the ear as a result of perforation of the eardrum that does not heal, can lead to recurrence of symptoms
  • It is therefore best to obtain an opinion from an ENT specialist and have them treat it adequately
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Ear Infection/earache contact

Ear Infection/earache page contact

PRACTICE MANAGER: Chelsea Fulton 07534 771264 MEDICAL SECRETARY: Karen Harris 07453 881588
CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESS: Enso House Crayfields Business Park, 3 New Mill Road, Orpington BR5 3TW | Tel: 01689 490119 | Fax: 01689 873221