Ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection that affects the air-filled middle ear, usually behind the eardrum with vibrating tiny bones. Ear infections are more common in children than adults. Ear infections are often painful due to fluid accumulation and inflammation in the middle ear.
Because ear infections heal on their own, treatment usually focuses on controlling the pain and monitoring the problem. Ear infections in infants, and severe cases in general, require antibiotic therapy. Long-term problems with ear infections, such as non-drying fluid in the middle ear and persistent or frequent infections, can lead to hearing problems and some other serious health problems.
The first signs of ear infections usually appear suddenly. Common symptoms observed in children include ear pain, especially when lying down, a pulling sensation in the ear, difficulty sleeping, crying more than usual, irritability more than normal, difficulty hearing and reacting to sounds, loss of balance, headache, fever of 38 degrees or higher, earache. discharge, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea may take place. Symptoms of ear infection can be a sign of some different health problems. Correct diagnosis and early treatment are important.
Ear infection occurs due to bacteria or viruses in the middle ear. Inflammation often develops due to colds, flu or other conditions such as allergies that cause congestion and swelling in the nasal passages, throat and Eustachian tubes.
Otitis media, which causes fluid accumulation, is fluid accumulation in the middle ear with inflammation that is not due to a bacterial or viral infection. This condition occurs as a result of fluid buildup, which can continue after the ear infection has healed. It can also be seen as a result of the eustachian tubes being blocked and not functioning properly. If fluid accumulation in the middle ear lasts for a long time and does not respond to treatments, it may cause permanent damage and injury to the middle ear cavity, eardrum and ossicular system. With permanent hearing loss, frequent infections, thinning, collapse and perforation of the eardrum can be seen. In other words, fluid accumulations that last for a long time and do not respond to treatments should be taken seriously.
Hearing impairment symptoms
Occasional mild hearing loss is one of the most common consequences of ear infections; but usually the situation improves after the infection has healed.
Persistent infections and fluid accumulations in the middle ear can also cause more severe hearing loss. Permanent hearing loss may occur if there is permanent damage to the eardrum or any other structure in the middle ear.
Infants and young children may experience delays in speech, social skills, and developmental skills if their hearing is temporarily or permanently impaired.
Untreated or unresponsive infections, there is a possibility of spreading to surrounding tissues. Inflammation of the mastoid bone, the bony prominence behind the ear, is called mastoiditis. The inflammation can damage the bone and lead to the formation of pus-filled cysts. Serious middle ear infections rarely spread to other tissues in the skull and the brain.
How is it treated?
Many ear infections do not need antibiotic treatment. The best treatment for your child may vary depending on his age and the severity of his symptoms.
If your child’s otitis media that causes fluid buildup—continuous fluid buildup in the ear after or before infection—does not heal and persists for too long, your doctor may perform an operation to dry the fluid in the middle ear.
In myringotomy, the surgeon makes a small (microscopic) hole in the eardrum to dry the fluid in the middle ear. Then, a tube (very small tube) is placed in the small hole to ventilate the middle ear and prevent fluid accumulation. Some tubes stay in the eardrum for 6 months to 1 year and then fall off on their own. Others stay in the ear longer and may need to be surgically removed. The eardrum closes again after the thin tubes fall off or are surgically removed.