Ears are made up of the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. All areas of the ear are susceptible to infections. If you are experiencing unresolved ear pain, you should have an examination to check for an infection and obtain the proper treatment.
Outer Ear Infection (Otitis Externa)- Outer ear infections are often due to bacteria in the outer ear which can happen when water, sand, or dirt gets in the ear canal. Symptoms include severe pain, drainage, itching, redness, and swelling of the outer ear. Complications of untreated otitis externa may include hearing loss, recurring ear infections, and bone/cartilage damage. Most infections can be treated with ear drops and resolve within ten days.
Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)- Middle ear infections are caused by either bacterial or viral infections and can be triggered by allergens, infections elsewhere in the body, nutritional deficiencies, or a blocked eustachian tube. In chronic cases, the middle ear space can become filled with fluid. Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the infection. In chronic cases, surgical insertion of a tube to drain the fluid from the middle ear may be required.
Inner Ear Infection (Otitis Interna)- Inner ear infections are known as labyrinthitis and can affect the both the hearing and balance center in the inner ear. These infections are most often caused by other infections in the body and can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, hearing loss, and ringing in the ears.
If you suspect you have an ear infection, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.