While ear infections are most common in young children, adults can also be affected. Ear infections (sometimes called acute otitis media) occur behind the eardrum when bacteria or a virus infects and traps fluid. This leads to pressure in the head and ears, and other sinus problems.
In many cases, ear infections tend to clear up on their own. However, there are different types of ear infections and factors that can impact their severity. That’s why sometimes it’s recommended to consult a sinus doctor.
Different Types of Infections and Their Symptoms
There are three main types of ear infections that correlate to the three different main parts of the ear: inner, middle, and outer.
1. Inner Ear Infection
Often, a diagnosis of an inner ear infection may actually just be inflammation instead of an infection. Common symptoms of an inner ear infection include:
- Acute ear pain
Also, in more rare cases, an inner ear infection may indicate meningitis.
2. Middle Ear Infection
The middle ear is located right behind your eardrum and a middle ear infection is caused by fluid being trapped. This leads to the eardrum bulging. In addition to an ear ache, common symptoms you may experience from a middle ear infection include:
- Sinus drainage
- A fever
- Difficulty hearing until the infection starts to clear up
- Eustachian tubes becoming irritated and swelling
3 Outer Ear Infection
An outer ear infection is often referred to as “swimmer’s ear.” The reason is that it is usually caused by water that gets in the ear while swimming or bathing. The moisture becomes the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and develop, leading to an infection.
Another way an outer ear infection may occur is if your ear is scratched or if you put your fingers or objects inside your ear.
Who Is at Most Risk To Get an Ear Infection?
Other than getting a cold, an ear infection is the most common illness in children and occurs the most between the ages of three months and three years. However, adults can receive ear infections as well.
Common risk factors for ear infections include:
- Age: Infant and small children are the most likely to suffer ear infections
- Family history: Some people have a family history susceptible to receiving ear infections
- Colds: Having a cold may increase the risk of infection
- Allergies: Allergies can increase the likelihood of developing an ear infection as the inflammation or swelling of nasal passages may lead to fluid buildup and other sinus problems
- Chronic illnesses: Chronic illnesses such as cystic fibrosis and asthma increase the risk of developing ear infections
- Certain ethnicities: Native Americans and Hispanic children are more likely to develop ear infections than any other groups
Treating an Ear Infection
Proper hygiene and care are instrumental in preventing and treating sinus pressure. Having a routine that involves properly removing ear wax is very crucial. However, sometimes it’s necessary to consult a sinus doctor if an ear infection grows in severity.
Learn more about how to treat an ear infection with the help of our sinus doctors from Glatz You Did!
Our team at Glatz You Did is dedicated to ensuring you get the right treatment. Whether you have a minor ear infection or are in need of more specialized care such as a balloon sinuplasty, you can contact us for the care you need.
Our years of experience coupled with our passion for helping our clients make us a great place to turn to when you or a loved one are dealing with an ear infection.