One of the most important senses we have is our hearing. Being able to clearly hear not only allows us to communicate more effectively with people but also to stay aware of what is happening around us and make better sense of the world. However, our ears are very sensitive and can be open to a number of medical issues. One common complaint is ear infections. But what is an ear infection?
Ear infections explained
The most common sort of ear infection is a middle ear infection. Also known as otitis media, it is basically an inflammation of the middle ear. This is the area between the inner ear and the eardrum. You also see infections of the middle ear connected with sore throats, colds and infections of the upper respiratory tract. When you have an ear infection, fluid starts to accumulate in the middle ear and put pressure on the eardrum.
While adults and children can be affected by this condition, it is thought that around 80% of children have suffered from an infected ear by the time they grow to 3 years of age. They are common in young and old people, and as a result, ear infections are a major reason why people seek medical attention every year.
What symptoms do ear infections normally present?
While there are a number of symptoms for this type of infection, the most common are:
– impaired hearing
– inability to sleep
– desire to tug or pull the infected ear
– balance issues
– lack of appetite
Although anyone can get an infected ear, you might be more at risk if you smoke or are around anyone who smokes. Kids can often pick up colds from other children at school or nursery, which can then lead to ear infections. It is also thought that children who were bottle-fed may be more prone to this issue.
What is the root cause of ear infections in people?
People usually get ear infections after being ill with colds or infections of the upper respiratory tract. This is because bacteria or viruses present in these conditions can settle in the middle ear area afterwards. This causes fluid to build up and infect the ear. Children can also be at more risk from ear infections due to having smaller Eustachian tubes. These smaller tubes do not drain the built-up fluid as effectively as larger adult ones, thus making ear infections more likely.
Ear infection treatment
If you have any of the above symptoms of an ear infection, it really is worth getting professional medical advice. Our expert team of Harley Street-based audiologists will examine you and then recommend the correct course of treatment for your specific case. Get in touch at [email protected] today to book a consultation.