Learn more about chronic ear infections and how they can be treated.
People of all ages can be prone to ear infections. However, when these infections continue despite initial methods of treatment, they may be categorized as more serious or chronic. Chronic ear infections are infections of the inner ear.
They are more serious than acute ear infections because they occur on a regular basis, even after treatments like antibiotics or ear drops
They also may not even respond to first line medicinal defenses like penicillin
Chronic ear infections are considered to be more serious because they can result in permanent damage to the inner ear and contribute to or directly cause the loss of hearing. People of all ages especially those who suffer from respiratory conditions like asthma and allergies can be prone to chronic ear infections.
The symptoms of chronic ear infections vary from patient to patient. However, the most common symptoms of this illness are:
Moderate to severe inner ear pain
Pus or discharge from the inner ear
Pressure on the ear drum
Fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
Infants with chronic ear infections may cry persistently and tug at their ears in an attempt to relieve the pain. Babies and children with this illness also may be fussy and experience difficulty eating and sleeping.
Physicians have a variety of means available to them to treat patients who suffer from chronic ear infections. You can anticipate the manner in which you will be treated by learning more about the available options for this condition.
The manner in which chronic ear infections are treated depends on the underlying and severity of the illness. Most doctors will attempt to cure the infection by first prescribing an antibiotic. If this first line of treatment fails to kill the bacteria in the inner ear, your doctor may then prescribe other medications designed to treat the underlying cause of the infection.
The medications that are commonly prescribed in addition to antibiotics address factors like allergies, asthma, postnasal drip, and blockages, all of which contribute to inner ear infections. If these medications do little or nothing to eliminate the infection, the doctor may then recommend surgery to address the illness.
Surgery on the inner ear is typically performed through endoscopic means. It is minimally invasive yet effective in repairing damages to the ear drum caused by infection. It can also be used to remove growths inside of the ears.
Many patients recuperate quickly from endoscopic ear surgery and regain their normal sense of hearing within three months. They also no longer experience recurring bouts of inner ear infections.
If you want to avoid undergoing surgery on your inner ears or use medications like penicillin sparingly, you may take steps to minimize your risk of contracting inner ear infections. You can accomplish this goal by learning what causes chronic ear infections.
A number of different factors can cause chronic ear infections. Some of the most common contributors to this persistent illness are:
Any of these factors can cause a blockage in the Eustachian tube in the middle ear. Once this tube becomes blocked, it can no longer ventilate properly. The inner ear then becomes a moist, ideal haven for bacteria to accumulate and grow.
Once the bacteria start to increase in numbers, they cause a painful and possibly damaging infection in the middle ear. It is imperative that patients undergo treatments like antibiotics or surgery to open the tube back up and to eliminate the bacterial growth that is occurring in that part of the ear.
If it is not treated, the infection can cause the ear drum to rupture. In rare cases, the bacteria can make their way from the inner ear to the brain or spinal cavity, resulting in meningitis.
You can minimize your risk of chronic ear infections by washing your hands and avoiding people who are sick with a cold or the flu. You also should receive prompt and continued treatment for any seasonal allergies or asthma from which you suffer.