Longer Term Effects Of Inner Ear Infections
Generally, the symptoms will clear up as soon as the infection is gone. However, the effects can sometimes last longer.
You might still feel dizzy and off-balance even when the other symptoms caused by the infection have gone. This can be a sign that the balance organs were damaged. Your brain can usually learn to work with these changes, so your sense of balance should usually come back by itself. However, if youre struggling to cope or the problem persists, you should see an ENT specialist. The doctor can check for any underlying causes and may refer you for vestibular rehabilitation therapy to help you to recover your balance.
Inner ear infections can also have a longer term effect on your hearing. This is more likely if you had bacterial infection, so your doctor might recommend a hearing test to check on your ears after the infection.
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What Causes Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear or otitis externa usually develops in ears that are exposed to moisture. People who get it often have been diving or swimming a lot, which can bring germs directly into the ear canal. Swimmer’s ear often happens during the summer months, when lots of us are enjoying water activities.
People who don’t swim can also develop it by scratching their ear canals when they try to clean their ears. This is especially true if they use cotton swabs or dangerously sharp small objects, like hair clips or bobby pins.
Sometimes, in a person with a middle ear infection , pus collected in the middle ear can drain into the ear canal through a hole in the eardrum, causing otitis externa.
What Causes Ear Infections In Dogs
Any animal can develop otitis despite ear shape, direct exposure to water , or the amount of hair inside the ear canal. Ear infections in dogs and cats are frequently the result of a hidden problem. Numerous conditions can predispose a pet to establishing an ear infection, including the following:
- Allergic reactions .
- Ear termites.
- Polyps or other growths in the ear canal.
- Systemic health problems such as thyroid disease and adrenal gland disease .
- Foreign product in the ears, including dirt, sand, or plant material.
- Ear infections hurt. Some pets with this condition might even try to bite individuals who attempt to touch their ears or head .
The scientific signs of otitis can differ depending upon the severity of the inflammation however can consist of the following:
- Shaking the head or rubbing the head and ears on the floor or on furnishings.
- Scratching the ears.
- Release from the ears .
- Soreness of the ear canal and earflap the ears may also feel warm when touched.
Some pets with severe otitis might sob or groan as they rub and scratch their ears. Some animals scratch so badly that their nails create wounds on the skin around their face, neck, and ears. If the otitis is severe or chronic, the external ear canal can begin to thicken and end up being deformed. This thickening can make the ear opening extremely narrow, so cleaning the ears becomes more difficult. Ulcers on the within the ear canal can likewise result from infection and trauma.
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How The Antibiotic Is Administered
Depending on the type and location of the infection, the choice of antibiotic will differ. Eye infections can often be treated with antibiotic eye drops while cuts and scrapes can be relieved with topical ointments. Other infections, such as urinary tract infections or pneumonia, may require pills.
As a general rule, topical antibiotics are suitable for some specific infections at localized sites whereas oral and intravenous antibiotics are needed for more severe and systemic infections. For the most severe infections , intravenous antibiotics are usually but not always required.
Who Gets An Ear Infection
At the highest risk for ear infections include those children who:
- Are male
- Have a strong family history of otitis media
- Were not breastfed during the first 12 months of life and/or
- Reside in a smoking household.
Children with a cleft palate or HIV have particularly severe problems with recurrent ear infections.
Age affects the rate of acute otitis media, with a dramatic decline in frequency in children older than three years. However, some children with a history of ventilating tubes or frequent recurrent otitis media, severe allergies, or large adenoids may still be plagued with ear problems.
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Types Of Ear Infections
The most common type of ear infection is called acute otitis media .
AOM is more common in children because they have smaller eustachian tubes. Located between the middle ear and upper throat, these tubes are responsible for fluid drainage.
If this fluid doesnt drain, a buildup and infection may occur. Fluid trapped in the middle ear behind your eardrum may also cause:
Other common infections
Other common types of ear infections include:
- Otitis media with effusion . The infection has cleared up, but fluid may still be stuck in the middle ear.
- Chronic otitis media with effusion . Fluid continues to build up on a recurring basis despite the lack of infection. This chronic condition can lead to serious side effects, such as hearing loss .
- Swimmers ear : occurs in the outer ear when water becomes trapped and promotes bacterial growth in the ear canal.
Infants Eight Weeks Or Younger
Young infants are at increased risk of severe sequelae from suppurative AOM. Middle ear pathogens found in neonates younger than two weeks include group B streptococcus, gram-negative enteric bacteria, and Chlamydia trachomatis.41 Febrile neonates younger than two weeks with apparent AOM should have a full sepsis workup, which is indicated for any febrile neonate.41 Empiric amoxicillin is acceptable for infants older than two weeks with upper respiratory tract infection and AOM who are otherwise healthy.42
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Antibiotic Therapy For Ear Infection In Dogs
Any family pet can develop an ear infection underlying allergic reactions or other diseases are typically the cause. Bacterial infection usually occurs secondary to the swelling and unhealthy environment in the ear.
A typical course of antibiotics can be as short as 5 to seven days, or as long as several months. It is best to give all medications as directed for the complete course of treatment, even if the ears look much better right now.
The Best Antibiotics For Ear Infection Treatment
Most antibiotics for ear infections are categorized under four families:
Penicillin — Amoxicillin and Augmentin are common antibiotic treatments that fall under the Penicillin family. Amoxicillin is a generic term for the most common antibiotic used to treat ear infections. This is a synthetic formula of penicillin that is normally taken three times per day. Doctors prefer it because it causes less diarrhea than other antibiotics. In addition, it is also inexpensive. is an amoxicillin drug with extra ingredients to inhibit bacterial resistance. This drug may clear up infections when other drugs have failed
Sulfonamides — Bactrim and are two different types of sulfonamide drugs combined with a trimethoprim. These are commonly used to treat children who are allergic to penicillin. Gantrisin is also frequently used as a preventative drug for kids with persistent infections, because it is only consumed once a day. Another type of sulfonamide is Ceclor . This is considered very effective, but it is expensive. Some newer cephalosporins include: Ceftin, Cefzil, Vantin, Suprax and Lorabid.
But Will It Still Work
In most cases, yes! Thats why the guidelines for treating ear infections changed in 2013.However, each childs situation is unique, and your familys medical provider is the best personto decide how long your child should take an antibiotic for an ear infection. On the other hand, ifyour child is over the age of two and has a non-severe ear infection, it makes sense to ask yourprovider about the possibility of a shorter course of treatment.
As always, talk to your doctor if you have other questions or concerns, and always follow thedirections on your childs medication.
You can read the full AAP clinical practice guideline for treating ear infections here.
If you are a medical provider, please consider taking our 5-minute survey.
Minimize Pharmaceuticals And Other Chemicals
Dogs who live a more natural lifestyle are less likely to develop ear infections. Try to minimize exposure to chemicals in your dogs environment, indoors and outside.
Vaccines, antibiotics and other medications, and chemical pest preventives all harm your dogs gut health and disrupt her immune system. Make sure you only give the vaccines your dog really needs to protect her. Use natural alternatives to antibiotics and other medications when you can, and use natural pest prevention to keep the bugs off your dog.
You can also reduce toxins by minimizing chemicals at home and in your yard. Choose natural shampoos to bathe your dog, avoid toxic cleaning products in your home, including your own body cosmetics and other products with artificial fragrances.
If you care for children, you likely know already how often they come down with earaches. Adults get them, too, but youngsters have them much more often. Thatâs because they donât fight off viruses and bacteria as well, and their little ears arenât good at draining fluids yet.
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What Causes An Ear Infection
Ear infections are caused by bacteria and viruses. Many times, an ear infection begins after a cold or other respiratory infection. The bacteria or virus travel into the middle ear through the eustachian tube . This tube connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. The bacteria or virus can also cause the eustachian tube to swell. This swelling can cause the tube to become blocked, which keeps normally produced fluids to build up in the middle ear instead of being able to be drained away.
Adding to the problem is that the eustachian tube is shorter and has less of a slope in children than in adults. This physical difference makes these tubes easier to become clogged and more difficult to drain. The trapped fluid can become infected by a virus or bacteria, causing pain.
Medical terminology and related conditions
Because your healthcare provider may use these terms, its important to have a basic understanding of them:
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Symptoms Of A Middle Ear Infection
In most cases, the symptoms of a middle ear infection develop quickly and resolve in a few days. This is known as acute otitis media. The main symptoms include:
- a lack of energy
- slight hearing loss – if the middle ear becomes filled with fluid
In some cases, a hole may develop in the eardrum and pus may run out of the ear. The earache, which is caused by the build-up of fluid stretching the eardrum, then resolves.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Most cases of otitis media pass within a few days, so there’s usually no need to see your GP.
However, see your GP if you or your child have:
- symptoms showing no sign of improvement after two or three days
- a lot of pain
- a discharge of pus or fluid from the ear some people develop a persistent and painless ear discharge that lasts for many months, known as chronic suppurative otitis media
- an underlying health condition, such as cystic fibrosis or congenital heart disease, which could make complications more likely
Read more about diagnosing middle ear infections
What Are The Symptoms Of Otitis Media
Symptoms of ear infection include:
- Ear pain: This symptom is obvious in older children and adults. In infants too young to speak, look for signs of pain like rubbing or tugging ears, crying more than usual, trouble sleeping, acting fussy/irritable.
- Loss of appetite: This may be most noticeable in young children, especially during bottle feedings. Pressure in the middle ear changes as the child swallows, causing more pain and less desire to eat.
- Irritability: Any kind of continuing pain may cause irritability.
- Poor sleep: Pain may be worse when the child is lying down because the pressure in the ear may worsen.
- Fever: Ear infections can cause temperatures from 100° F up to 104° F. Some 50% of children will have a fever with their ear infection.
- Drainage from the ear: Yellow, brown, or white fluid that is not earwax may seep from the ear. This may mean that the eardrum has ruptured .
- Trouble hearing: Bones of the middle ear connect to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain. Fluid behind the eardrums slows down movement of these electrical signals through the inner ear bones.
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When Antibiotics Are Used
Antibiotics are typically only prescribed for AOM.
OME and COME occur after an infection has already occurred. Antibiotics cant treat fluid buildup if theres no active infection.
An antibiotic may be prescribed for an active ear infection once your doctor has examined your ear and has determined you exhibit signs and symptoms of AOM or swimmers ear.
Frequent or recurring ear infections should also be addressed with a doctor. Due to concerns with antibiotic resistance, recurring ear infections or COME shouldnt always be treated with antibiotics.
Depending on the severity of your ear infection, your doctor may hold off on prescribing antibiotics.
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Otitis Media In Adults
Otitis media is another name for a middle ear infection. It means an infection behind your eardrum. This kind of ear infection can happen after any condition that keeps fluid from draining from the middle ear. These conditions include allergies, a cold, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.
Middle ear infections are common in children, but they can also happen in adults. An ear infection in an adult may mean a more serious problem than in a child. So you may need additional tests. If you have an ear infection, you should see your healthcare provider for treatment. If they happen repeatedly, you should see an otolaryngologist or an otologist .
What are the types of middle ear infections?
Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways. They are:
Who is more likely to get a middle ear infection?
You are more likely to get an ear infection if you:
- Smoke or are around someone who smokes
- Have seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms
- Have a cold or other upper respiratory infection
What causes a middle ear infection?
The middle ear connects to the throat by a canal called the eustachian tube. This tube helps even out the pressure between the outer ear and the inner ear. A cold or allergy can irritate the tube or cause the area around it to swell. This can keep fluid from draining from the middle ear. The fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Bacteria and viruses can grow in this fluid. The bacteria and viruses cause the middle ear infection.
Check If It’s An Ear Infection
The symptoms of an ear infection usually start quickly and include:
- discharge running out of the ear
- a feeling of pressure or fullness inside the ear
- itching and irritation in and around the ear
- scaly skin in and around the ear
Young children and babies with an ear infection may also:
- rub or pull their ear
- not react to some sounds
- be irritable or restless
- be off their food
- keep losing their balance
Most ear infections clear up within 3 days, although sometimes symptoms can last up to a week.Differences between middle and outer ear infections
|Inner ear infection
|Middle ear infection
|Outer ear infection
|Can affect both children and adults
|Usually affects children
|Usually affects adults aged 45 to 75
|Caused by viral or bacterial infections
|Caused by viruses like colds and flu
|Caused by something irritating the ear canal, such as eczema, water or wearing earplugs
|Affects parts of the inner ear like the labyrinth and vestibular system, and can lead to labyrinthitis
|Affects the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the nose
|Affects the ear canal
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