In medical terms, acute otitis media, or ear infection, is a primary infection in the middle ear, the space behind the eardrum. Even though ear infections are among the most frequent conditions that cause young children to visit doctors, anybody can acquire one, including adults and children.
Ear infections usually might disappear on their own, but problem monitoring and pain management may be the first steps in treatment. Antibiotics may occasionally be used to treat infections. Some individuals might go through several ear infections often.
These are the common symptoms of an ear infection – a slight stiffness or soreness in the ear, continuous pressure discomfort, and draining pus from the ears. These symptoms may recur frequently or not at all. A double ear infection, or an infection in both ears, typically causes more discomfort.
The symptoms of a chronic ear infection may not be as obvious as those of an acute one. However, in most cases, one of the worst effects of ear infection is loss of hearing. Painkillers and ear tube replacements are some of the treatments aside from antibiotics.
Keep reading to learn the causes of ear infections:
Viruses or Bacteria
Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae, in particular, can cause ear infections. They frequently originate from the fluid inside the middle ear building up due to a blockage of the eustachian tubes. The ear canals and the back of the throat are connected by tiny tubes that are called eustachian tubes. In addition, the middle ear and the nasopharynx, which are made up of the upper throat and nasal cavity’s back part, are linked by a canal called the eustachian tube. By regulating it, the middle ear’s internal pressure is brought into balance with the external air pressure.
The eustachian tube continues to be closed most of the time, only opening when yawning, swallowing, or chewing to let the air move between the nasopharynx and middle ear. These actions can be deliberately carried out to open the tube and balance the pressure within the middle ear when abrupt changes in atmospheric pressure result in an immediate feeling of obstruction in the ear, like when traveling through a plane.
Causes of eustachian tube blockage include colds, allergies, sinus problems, excessive phlegm, adjusting to air pressure, and smoking.