An ear infection is caused when a viral or bacterial infection hits the middle part of the ear – the area just behind the eardrum. Essentially, ear infections can be either acute or chronic. Acute ear infections are more painful but shorter in duration. The symptoms of chronic ear infection surface mildly, but keep coming back, or do not go away at all. This is where the problem arises, hence chronic ear infections need to be paid attention to or the condition could have serious repercussions.
Causes of chronic ear infection:
Chronic ear infection is a recurring ear infection or an acute ear infection that did not completely go away. Eustachian tubes that drain fluid made in the middle ear become swollen or blocked that leads to fluid build up. This condition gives way to an ear infection and when this does not go away or happens again and again, it causes chronic ear infections. Chronic ear infections are painful as fluid buildup presses on the eardrum. In cases of severe infection, the eardrum can also be ruptured.
Symptoms of chronic ear infection:
The symptoms of chronic infection are milder as compared to an acute condition. These include a feeling of pressure in the ear, pain in the ear, difficulty in hearing, fever, fluid draining from the ears or even trouble sleeping at night.
The symptoms are often recurring and may affect one or both ears. If an acute ear infection does not seem to be healing, or the symptoms are becoming worse it could lead to chronic ear infection so consult your doctor immediately.
Diagnosis and treatment:
Chronic ear infection most often involves a hole in the eardrum that does not heal. That can be taken care of taking medicines orally. When the infection is little heightened, certain antibiotic ear drops might also be prescribed. Taking painkillers also relieves symptoms though only temporarily. Holding a warm or cold washcloth to the affected area also provides relief. However, following the prescribed course of treatment is necessary as complications can be severe. Apart from hearing loss, you could also be causing damage to bones in the middle part of your ear. Rare cases have also led to facial paralysis or inflammation around the brain. Any kind of complication would have to be handled surgically, which can in most situations be avoided.
The Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and more horizontal, hence they are more vulnerable to chronic ear infections. The pressure on the eardrum increases when they lie down hence discomfort increases. Whether it’s you or your kid suffering from a chronic ear infection, seek medical help immediately. Apart from that, practice good hygiene and wash hands regularly to completely eliminate any growth of an infection.