Ear infections happen more frequently in children due to their smaller, more horizontal eustachian tubes. Eustachian tubes are the airways between the ears and the throat that help regulate the ears’ air pressure. Even so, there are three types of ear infections in adults can be problematic and could be worth a visit to your audiologist.
Inner Ear Infection
The inner ear consists of the cochlea, vestibule, and canals that control balance. An inner ear infection is often a matter of inflammation rather than an infection. On the other hand, it could also be caused by a respiratory disease such as a cold, meningitis, etc.
Symptoms to look out for with an inner ear infection include:
- Ear pain
One should visit the doctor to determine the root cause of an inner ear infection. The doctor can address the inflammation or the bacteria or virus that is triggering it. If it is a respiratory or other disease, relief from that can aid the inner ear infection.
Middle Ear Infection
The middle ear is the section of the ear behind the eardrum. It is an air-filled cavity that contains three tiny bones called ossicles and is the gateway to the eustachian tube. For this reason, a middle ear infection (also called otitis media) is often directly related to a cold or respiratory issue. Germs or viruses can travel from the nose or throat to the middle ear and cause the following symptoms:
- Feeling of fullness in the ear
- Distorted hearing
A middle ear infection can cause swelling, which can make it harder for built-up fluid to drain. An at-home method to help with this is to close your mouth and nose and gently exhale. This is called autoinsufflation. If the infection does not go away on its own, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics. See a doctor immediately if your eardrum bursts.
Outer Ear Infection
The outer ear is every part of the ear beyond the eardrum. It is also called swimmer’s ear, because the infection can happen after swimming or bathing, especially if you have a cut on the ear. An outer ear infection often manifests as a rash, and bears the general characteristics:
To treat, one should clean the outer ear and apply medical ointment or cream until it goes away. If it is a viral infection, one may need to wait it out. For more information on treatment and prevention for different types of ear infections, read here.
Trust the Experts at Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions
Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service to the surrounding areas of Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that are personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.