Have you ever had a painful infection in your ear that is stops you dead in your tracks? I am going to inform you about ear infections. An ear infection is an infection of the middle ear. Healthcare providers call this otitis media. You may wonder why I choose to inform you about this today but I am a victim of several serious ear infections, which I will later inform you about. Ear infections are inflammation of the middle ear.
This inflammation often begins when infections that cause sore throats, colds or other respiratory or breathing problems spread to the middle ear. These can be viral or bacterial infections. It is estimated that medical cost and lost wages because of otitis media amount to $5 billion a year in the United States. Although otitis media is primarily a disease of infants and young children, it can also affect adults. Otitis media not only causes severe pain but also may result in serious complications if it is not treated.
An untreated infection can travel from the middle ear to the nearby parts of the head, including the brain. Persistent fluid in the middle ear and chronic otitis media can reduce a child’s hearing at a time that is critical for speech and language development. Children who have early hearing impairment from frequent ear infections are likely to have speech and language disabilities. Common signs of ear infections are usually irritability, difficulty sleeping, tugging, or pulling at one or both ears, fever, fluid draining from the ear, and loss of balance.
Other factors may increase the risk of a child getting an ear infection include group childcare, allergies that cause stuffy nose, bottle-feeding in a lying down position, and breathing tobacco smoke. Hearing loss caused by otitis media is usually temporary, untreated OM may lead to permanent hearing impairment. I can relate to the hearing loss of ear infections. I recently had surgery due to a 60% hearing loss in my right ear that was cause by numerous amounts of infections when I was a child.
The amount of ear infection I had actually wore away a piece of one of the bones in my ear. They are the three smallest bones in your body. They transmit sound and that how we hear. The doctors actually went in, lifted up my eardrum, and reconstructed my bones and my hearing has greatly improved since then. If your doctor believes bacteria cause your ear infection, and most are, he or she will prescribe an antibiotic to kill the bacteria and cure the infection.
You may also try a few other things to feel more comfortable like taking over the counter medications, and ibuprofen to help relieve pain or fever, place warm compresses against your ear, and sit in an upright position to decrease the pressure on your middle ear. So from now on when you think you just have another ear infection you may want to take it a little more seriously, I can attest that they are no fun. Being under a knife for a 2-hour surgery is not worth not taking care of yourself today. Actually, you can see the scar in my ear where they took out cartilage to repair the bones. I never know something so small can do so much damage.