Northeast Atlanta Ear Nose & Throat can help. We can speak with you regarding your symptoms and find out if an ear infection is evident. If so, we can provide excellent, effective treatment to relieve your symptoms.
Otitis media means “inflammation of the middle ear.” It happens as a result of a middle ear infection.
This condition can be very serious, especially due to the fact that it can cause a severe earache and/or hearing loss. If hearing loss occurs in children, it can impair their learning capacity and delay their speech development.
It is very important to treat otitis media right away in an effective manner because hearing can almost always be restored back to normal. If not treated right away, the infection can spread to nearby areas in the head, especially the mastoid.
The infection is due to a blockage of the eustachian tube. This can happen when a person has a cold, an allergy, or an upper respiratory infection. When the bacteria or a virus is present, this can lead to a build-up of pus and mucus behind the eardrum. This type of infection is called acute otitis media.
The implications of the pressurized pus build-up include: middle ear pain, redness, and swelling. Hearing problems may also occur because the eardrum will not vibrate properly.
There are times when the eardrum can rupture, and this can lead to pus draining out of the ear. However, it is more common for the mucus and pus to remain in the middle ear since the eustachian tube is swollen and inflamed. If this happens, it is called middle ear effusion or serous otitis media.
Oftentimes, after the acute infection passes, the effusion will still remain for a period of time— weeks, months, or years. If this happens, frequent recurrences of the acute infection may occur, which may eventually cause difficulty in hearing or other hearing problems.
Ever wonder how the ear works? We’re here to tell you…
Pretty amazing, right?
Well when the middle ear is healthy and working properly, there will be the same amount of atmospheric pressure inside the middle ear as the air outside of the ear. This allows free vibration. The air will enter into the middle ear through the narrow eustachian tube that connects the back of the nose to the ear.
If the ear is not working properly, then problems could arise (i.e. ear infection, etc). Ear infection symptoms for infants and toddlers:
Ear infection symptoms for adults, children, and adolescents:
If you do not seek a proper diagnosis and receive effective treatment, an ear infection can cause chronic or permanent hearing loss.
At the ENT doctor’s office, the doctor will use an otoscope to assess the ear. He or she will check for any redness in or near the ear region, fluid behind the eardrum, and whether or not the eardrum moves. These are all typical signs of an ear infection.
In addition, the ENT doctor might perform 2 other tests:
Treatment options include:
If prescribed, it is very important to take the medication(s) as directed. It is also very important to keep follow-up appointments with your ENT doctor as directed.
After taking your medication(s), if your symptoms do not clear up, or if you have questions about your medication or your child’s medication, call our ENT doctors.
If you or your child experiences a few episodes of acute otitis media within a short period of time, or hearing loss, or chronic otitis media lasts for more than 3 months, then placement of ventilation tubes may be necessary. The ventilation tubes are called pressure-equalization (PE) tubes.
The placement requires a short surgical procedure. A small incision is made in the eardrum. Then all of the fluid is suctioned out, and a tube is placed within the eardrum.
Eventually the tube will fall out on its own, and the eardrum will heal. After this procedure, patient’s hearing typically improves and further infections decrease.
Otitis media may recur because of chronically infected adenoids and tonsils. If needed, your ENT doctor might recommend removal of the infected tonsils and/or adenoids via ear surgery. If this is recommended, the removal can be completed during the procedure when the ventilation tubes are placed.