One night you notice that you can only sleep on one side because your ear is red and in pain. You may also sense a loss of hearing. What could it be? Most people associate ear infections with small children and tend to brush the symptoms off as signs of something else. (If you do have kids, teach them the importance of hand washing to help prevent ear infections.) Not to be overlooked is the fact that adults can get ear infections too. Learn more about symptoms and diagnosis of ear infections.
What is an Ear Infection? The cause of an ear infection can be traced to a bacterium or a virus. Other illness often brings on an ear infection as they cause swelling of the nasal passages and congestion. Eustachian tubes run from the middle of the ear the high back of the throat. These tubes regulate air pressure, refresh air, and drain normal secretions from the ear. When fluids build up in blocked tubes, it becomes what we know as an ear infection. You may be more prone to an ear infection during the fall or winter or if you are exposed to poor air quality.
How to Treat an Ear Infection A doctor will be able to tell from your symptoms alone if you have an ear infection. They can use a lighted instrument to look at your ear to confirm their diagnosis. In addition to antibiotics, a doctor may recommend a warm compress and pain medication.
When to Visit a Specialist If an ear infection persists, an ear nose throat specialist can perform a small surgery to drain the fluid. A small tube is inserted into the ear to create a hole for air to simplify the draining process.
Are you or someone you know suffering from reoccurring ear infections? Speaking with an Ear Nose Throat specialist can set you on the path to recovery. Contact us at (208) 336-4368 today to find out how we can help.