Ear infections are not uncommon, particularly in children, but can also affect adults. That is why Ryan Vaughn, MD, an expert otolaryngologist, offers a patient-focused, holistic, and integrative approach towards ear infections in Schaumburg. This is because an ear infection can become severe and recurring and only such care can help manage such a condition. Such a chronic ear infection can cause much pain and can also lead to hearing loss. Therefore, although it is pretty normal to experience an ear infection, a recurrent one is no joke. It can pose a severe threat.
Reasons for a Recurrent Ear Infection
For such a common condition as an ear infection, it is vital to understand the causes to avoid them if possible and help manage the condition. Common causes of a recurrent ear infection include chronic sinus problems, allergies, and blocked or underdeveloped Eustachian tubes.
Allergies and Sinusitis
These conditions can contribute to a recurrent ear infection. If your provider diagnoses allergies or sinusitis, antibiotics can be used to improve your condition. However, your provider can be reluctant to prescribe the antibiotics due to resistance possibilities. Instead, you can be required to observe your child or your symptoms while you use over-the-counter painkillers and only use the antibiotics when it is necessary.
Eustachian Tube Problems
This complication mainly affects infants and toddlers. The Eustachian tube connecting your middle ear to the upper part of your throat can be immature or fail to function fully. This causes a negative pressure that causes fluid build-up and recurrent ear infections. When this is the condition, your child is at the risk of losing hearing, and the fluid needs to be drained as fast as possible to prevent further ear infection.
Symptoms of a Chronic Ear Infection
It is critical to understand the signs of a chronic ear infection as they can be less severe than acute infection symptoms. In most cases, the symptoms can go for a long-time unnoticed and untreated posing a threat to further complications.
The following symptoms can indicate a recurrent ear infection.
- Fussiness in infants
- Hearing loss
- Mild ear pain or discomfort
- Pressure in the air
- Pus-like drainage from the ear
- Low-grade fever
These symptoms may come and go and they may occur in one ear or both. Please don’t hesitate to contact your doctor if you notice any of these signs.
Diagnosis of Recurrent Ear Infection
When you contact your provider, the first thing they will do is examine the symptoms you or your child are experiencing, and they may examine your ear through an otoscope. This is a technique that can reveal the following:
- A bulging eardrum that can be collapsed
- A perforation in the eardrum
- Eardrum that sticks to the middle ear’s bones
- Thick fluid
- Air bubbles
- Dullness or redness
Your provider can also carry out some tests, including the fluid cultures, which shows bacterial infections, CT scan, and hearing tests.
Treatments for Recurrent Ear Infection
The treatment options for recurrent ear infections depend on the cause and particular symptoms you are experiencing. Antibiotics can be administered orally or intravenously where bacteria cause your infection. Antibiotic ear drops can also be used if there is a hole in the eardrum.
Although surgeries are never among the initial treatment plan, they might become an option when other options fail. Your provider may recommend surgery to repair the eardrum, repair or replace the small bones in the middle ear, or clean the infection from the mastoid bone.
If left untreated, a recurrent ear infection can cause permanent hearing loss or a ruptured eardrum. Therefore, please contact Exhale Sinus & Facial Pain Center to learn more about recurrent ear infections and how you can manage the condition.