You can get an ear infection in various ways in your inner or outer ear. Such conditions are quite common among children, but the vulnerability among adults is also high. Ear infections in children are usually minor, and they recover quickly, but disorders in adults are mostly due to some underlying conditions. Get in touch with an otolaryngologist in Singapore to resolve any such issues.
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Types and Symptoms of Ear Infections
We can classify ear infections into three key types based on where they occur in your ear, i.e., outer, middle, and inner ear.
1. Inner Ear Infection
Sometimes, we may wrongly diagnose swelling in the ear’s inner regions as an inner ear infection. The signs that you may have an inner ear infection include pain in the ear, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting. If you regularly experience the Inner ear symptoms, it may indicate a severe underlying health disorder like Meningitis.
2. Middle Ear Infection
According to medical experts, the area behind the eardrum is your middle ear. The middle ear infection, aka otitis media, happens when fluid gets trapped behind your eardrum, making it bulge. Its symptoms include a feeling of fullness inside your ear, pain in the ear, or leakage of fluid from the infected ear. Some people may also report fever or hearing issues.
3. Outer Ear Infection
As per medical experts, the outer ear refers to the area extending from your eardrum to the outside of your head. Outer ear infection, aka otitis externa, usually begins with itchiness and rashes. Moreover, you may experience pain, swelling, and redness.
The primary cause of your ear infections is bacteria. You may get either middle or outer ear infection depending upon its cause.
Middle Ear Infection
Cold or similar respiratory issues usually cause a middle ear infection. The respiratory system infection spreads via the eustachian tubes to one or both ears. These tubes regulate air pressure inside your ear and are connected to your throat and backside of the nose.
The infection may irritate the tubes, making them swell, which further restricts draining. Due to blockage, it starts building up against your eardrum. That is why you may feel fullness inside your ear, including other symptoms.
Outer Ear Infection
Outer ear infection, aka swimmer’s ears, usually happens when water gets trapped in your ear after swimming or bathing. It leads to moisture, which is an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. The bacterial infection usually happens when you scratch your ear or develop irritation in the ear lining. It usually occurs when people insert their fingers or foreign objects into the ear.
The eustachian tubes in children are comparatively more horizontal and smaller than in adults. Hence, they are more prone to ear infections. Adults having a less developed slope of eustachian tubes or their smaller size makes them vulnerable. Adults have a high risk of developing ear infections if they smoke or get exposed to passive smoking. Besides, people getting frequent seasonal or year-round allergies are more prone to ear infections. Cold or upper respiratory infections also increase the risk considerably.
If you intend to avoid getting an ear infection of any type, you may use the following tips:
- Regularly clean your ears using a cotton swab or by washing your ears.
- Dry your ears properly, especially after taking a bath or a swimming session.
- Don’t smoke and avoid smokers to get rid of passive smoking.
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and running water.
- Avoid getting in contact with people having a cold or respiratory infection.
- Ensure that you have up-to-date vaccination.
- Use allergy medicines and avoid allergy triggers to control your allergic tendencies.
Time to Visit an ENT Specialist
If you have a little pain in your ears, you may wait for a couple of days before seeing an ENT specialist because some ear infections resolve on their own in a few days. If your pain persists and you start getting a fever, we strongly recommend you visit your ENT doctor at the earliest. Similarly, if some fluid drains from your ear or if you develop hearing issues, you must see an ENT specialist for medical assistance.
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