An ear infection is most often a viral or bacterial infection affecting the middle ear, which is an air-filled space behind the eardrum containing tiny vibrating bones. Ear infections are painful because of fluid buildup and inflammation. The most common symptoms of ear infection are ear pain and discharge of fluid from the ear. Ear pain may occur due to cold or fever, whereas fluid discharge may occur due to a ruptured eardrum.
Although virus or bacteria in the middle ear cause an ear infection, it often results from another disease such as allergy, flu, or cold that causes congestion and swelling of the throat, nasal passages, and Eustachian tubes.
Mucus, inflammation, and swelling in the Eustachian tubes from an allergy or upper respiratory infection can block them. This results in the buildup of fluids in the middle ear. Ear infections are most common in children, but adults too can experience ear infection that can cause several serious problems including hearing loss.
Factors that may increase the risk of ear infections in adults:
- Weakened immune system
- Type-2 diabetes
- Buzzing or ringing sounds in the ears
- Loss of appetite
- Drainage of fluid from the ear
- High Fever
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty understanding everyday conversation
- Acting more irritable than usual
- Difficulty sleeping
- Ear pain
- Diminished hearing
Home Remedies for Treating Ear Infections
Because ear pain and infections often clear up on their own, ENT specialists at Pristyn Care start the treatment with managing pain and monitoring the problem. The doctors often suggest home remedies for pain management.
- Warm water with apple cider vinegar (equal parts) ear drops: 5-10 drops daily in the affected ear – cover your ear with cotton balls for five minutes
- Rubbing alcohol with apple cider vinegar (equal parts) ear drops: 5-10 drops daily in the affected ear – cover your ear with cotton balls for five minutes
- Warm olive oil ear drops: 3-5 drops daily
- Tea tree oil ear drops: 2-3 drops daily
- Neck exercises – the trap stretch, cervical spine extension
- Cold or warm compresses like a damp washcloth or a heating pad can relieve pain
Why Take Ear Infections Seriously?
If left untreated, ear infections can grow to become more severe, compromising the quality of your life, the most dreaded being hearing loss. Hearing loss is when your ability to hear is partially or entirely lost.
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss or hearing impairment is when your ability to hear is reduced or completely compromised. There are more than one million cases of hearing loss in India, which can tell you the need for the importance of applying new medical interventions to treat this condition. The most common causes of loss of hearing are ear infection, ageing, and loud noise. In most cases, it is difficult to cure hearing impairment and is typically treated with hearing aids. Our hearing ability worsens after we cross the 40s. This age-related hearing loss is called Presbyacusis. On the other hand, exposure to loud noise and any untreated ear infections may also lead to hearing loss.
Hearing impairment is the result of the sound signals not being able to reach the brain. There are different types of hearing loss namely conductive, mixed, sensorineural, neural, and mixed.
- Conductive: This occurs when a part of the middle or outer ear is blocking sound from going to the inner ear. Conductive hear loss is not permanent and can be treated. It may cause due to blockage such as glue ear, earwax, or fluid buildup due to infection
- Sensorineural: This occurs when the connection between the inner ear and the brain is compromised. This happens because the hair cells in the cochlea are destroyed or damaged. The sufferer may hear most sounds or no sounds, although they would be muffled. This type of hearing loss is almost permanent and may require a hearing aid. It is caused due to aging
Hearing loss can cause severe implications on the quality of your life. You are advised to see a doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms. If untreated, it can lead to permanent deafness.
For conductive hearing loss, the ENT specialist will diagnose the outer ear for earwax, fluid buildup, or any infection through endoscopy tests. It is mostly temporary, which can be treated using minor procedures including medications. If required, surgical procedures like stapedectomy or tympanoplasty may be performed.
For sensorineural hearing loss, the ENT specialist will work on improving the patient’s hearing capability through numerous medical interventions. This includes using digital hearing aids, cochlear implants, middle ear implants, and bone anchored implants.
Why Pristyn Care?
ENT specialists at Pristyn Care are specially trained to test and help patients with problems related to hearing loss. The audiologist will examine the patient’s hearing by doing different types of tests. We even have hearing tests for babies. If our audiologist finds that the patient has hearing loss, they will recommend treatment according to the degree of the condition.
We have a state-of-the-art lab and operating theatre at Pristyn Care where we perform Tympanoplasty and Mastoidectomy surgery procedures for hearing loss.
The purpose of tympanoplasty surgery is to reconstruct the punctured eardrum causing hearing loss. It is performed under general anesthesia and may require making a small incision above the ear canal to approach the repair. The operation is performed under expert surveillance.
The purpose of mastoidectomy surgery is to remove the diseased mastoid air cells located behind the ear. The diseased air cells are the root cause of ear infection in adults that may spread into the skull if untreated. It is performed under general anesthesia where we use a microscope for more precision.
A specialized team will be assigned to the patient to help him/her figure out the best way to learn and communicate if the condition cannot be cured. Pristyn Care holds expertise in ENT, and hence we are a blessing in disguise for all the people who are going through any of the ENT problems.