Written By Dr. Pauline Dinnauer / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Ear infections, also known as acute otitis media (AOM), are invisible dangers associated mostly with children. Eight-point-seven million children per year are diagnosed with ear infections, which account for almost $3 billion in annual health care expenses, according to the research journal Laryngoscope.
Adult ear infections
But children are only half the story. Adults also suffer from middle ear infections, which physicians say happens when the Eustachian tube, tasked with keeping the middle ear clean, gets blocked.
When that happens, ventilation through the ear is clogged and that space becomes susceptible to germs and other parasites. Inner ear infections, on the other hand, occur when the inner ear, which controls the balance, is swollen due to a bacterial infection or a respiratory illness.
Among adults, men are most likely to get ear infections, especially those who are genetically disposed to the malady, or those who already have poor immune systems or chronic respiratory disease. Smoking, or living with smokers, doesn’t help either.
Ear infection signs
So how do you know if you have an ear infection? Take note if you have one or more of the following over a sustained period of time:
- Severe earache. This will be more pronounced than your average earache. In fact, what you’ll feel is a dull throbbing that builds over time.
- Dizziness, nausea, or vomiting. This is your body physically reacting to the pain.
- Slow drainage from the ear. Make note that the drainage is coming from the ear that is in pain.
- Dulled or muted hearing. Again, this will be especially true of the ear that is producing the pain.
- Sharp pain plus drainage. This symptom comes out of nowhere, is a stabbing pain, and is immediately followed by drainage.
Children’s ear infections
Symptoms for children suffering from ear infections are more extensive, according to WebMD. They include poor sleep, fever, irritability, tugging at the ear, ear drainage, loss of appetite, and crying when lying down.
Length of ear infection
The length of the ear infection determines its severity. Typically, ear infections last about two weeks with no lasting damage to your ear or significant hearing loss. However, some ear infections can last much longer - some, up to six weeks.
Ear infection symptoms
Finally, it is important to act on ear infection symptoms because they could be the cause of something far riskier to your health: meningitis.
Meningitis is a condition when membranes covering the brain and spinal cord get infected and then become inflamed. Sudden nausea and vomiting, headaches, or fevers are common symptoms for meningitis as is inner ear trouble.
For these reasons, it is important that anyone experiencing symptoms related to the ear see a physician or ear specialist right away.
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Dr. Pauline Dinnauer, AuD is the Vice President of Audiological Care at Connect Hearing, which provides industry-leading hearing loss, hearing testing and hearing aid consultation across the U.S.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.