Ear Infection: Complete Guide

what causes ear infection

Having ear pain is a common yet very painful condition. It is usually relating to when a person is having an ear infection. This is basically a bacterial or viral infection. It impacts the middle ear basically. This infection can be very painful for you and usually relates to a person suffering from inflammation or even fluid buildup.

The kind of infection can be chronic or it can be acute. When we are talking about the acute ear infections, they are extremely painful. You will need to take certain medications to combat them in a proper and efficient manner.

Chronic ear infections are those which can also become very severe. They can recur many times and if they don’t clear up, they can give permanent damage to your middle and inner ear as well.

In this article I am going to be talking in detail about what causes ear infection, its major symptoms, how to diagnose it, as well as treatment and effective prevention tactics to make use of.

So let’s start:

Causes of Ear Infection

what leads to ear infection

This is a condition which happens when one of your eustachian tubes will get impacted. This includes being swollen or blocked. It is also due to the buildup of fluid within your ear. When we talk about eustachian tubes, they relate to as the major reason as to why you will suffer from ear infection.

Some of the leading causes of eustachian tube blockage  are:

  • having major allergies
  • getting cold outbreaks which are not in your control
  • sinus infections can be a leading reason
  • in some cases, having excess mucus is a leading cause
  • if you are a chain smoker, it can serve as a reason
  • infection of the tonsils is a leading cause
  • air pressure is also a reason- as you go up in altitude, the air pressure in your ears gets thinner and you will start to feel pain in your inner ear

Let’s now talk about

Risk Factors on Ear Infection

This kind of infection usually happens in younger children. This is because they have short eustachian tubes. This is also relating to how infants who are taking the bottle are more likely to suffer from ear infection as opposed to those who are being breast-fed. Some of the reasons as to why you might be suffering from an ear infection :

  • Suffering from altitude changes
  • Climate changes can also be a leading issue
  • If you are exposed to smoking , it can be a reason
  • Pacifier use in children is also a reason
  • If you had a recent illness, this can be a leading factor too

So what are the major symptoms relating to this condition:

Symptoms of Ear Infection

showing fussiness is symptom of ear infection

When it comes to the symptoms of this condition, a few of the common ones include:

  • Suffering from a mild pain
  • Having discomfort in the ear
  • Feeling pressure inside the ear
  • Showing fussiness in young infants
  • There is certain kind of pus-like drainage
  • When suffering from hearing loss

When we talk about these symptoms, you should know they are not long-lasting and can easily come and go. These can also happen in just one ear or can occur in both. This kind of pain is even more severe when it impacts both ears. The pain is also long-lasting and you will need severe medications to ensure it is being managed well.

The chronic ear infection also has symptoms which may be less noticeable to you as compared to the acute ear infection symptoms. Also it depends on the age group. As those who are younger than 6 months, will have to definitely see a doctor if these symptoms are persisting .

This also holds true when your children are actually having a very high fever and this is coupled with severe ear pain too. So how do we make a proper diagnosis of this condition?

Diagnosis of Ear Infection

So how do we know whether this condition is something which needs immediate attention or not. This will be done so by your healthcare provider. He or she will examine the ear with a magnifying lens and try to understand where the problem lies.

The examination also relates to certain parameters which are followed. These include:

  • Redness and air bubbles formation
  • Having pus-like fluid filling inside the middle ear
  • There is fluid draining from the ear
  • Suffering from a perforation in the eardrum
  • In severe cases there will also be a bulging or collapses eardrum too

When the infection gets even severe, then your doctor will possibly take a sample of this fluid from your ear. They will test it and will determine if there is antibiotic- resistant bacteria which is existing in the ear.

In today’s day and age, doctors also make use of what we call a computed tomography CT scan, which looks into the details of whether this infection is actually spreading beyond the middle ear.

The major test which is initiated is what we call a hearing test. This will play a major role in understanding if there are certain chronic ear infections also existing or not.

So now that you have a good understanding of what is the diagnosis, you will be able to work out a strong treatment plan. I want to now talk about the kind of treatment you can go with:

Treatment of Ear Infection

getting the proper treatment

You will not be able to get your ear infection treated properly if you don’t involve some proper professional treatment method. While mild ear infection can be well taken care of without making use of any heavy medication.  But when it comes to relieving symptoms of an infection which has been getting severe in recent times, you have to make use of some strong medication to tackle the same.

Here are some common tactics to utilize to ensure you are able to treat it right:

  • You should make use of a warm cloth and have it placed on your ear
  • In some cases, you can also make the situation better by using over-the-counter pain medications. Some of the common medications which are able to bring the effect include ibuprofen as well as Tylenol.
  • Make use of certain kinds of ear drops which are effective in reliving the pain. You can look for brands and companies which are reputable.

However every situation is different. You need to analyze your symptoms yourself and see if making use of this medication making the condition better or worse. In case your situation does not get better, you should make a schedule with your doctor to determine the correct plan of action.

Age Matters

Age group also matters. A child who is below 2 years of age will likely need antibiotics to correct the condition, whereas those who are older will probably be able to treat the condition simply by taking some ear drops. But in case of taking antibiotics, you need to complete your full course otherwise you may face some side effects.

When the condition has deteriorated to a large extent, you might need surgery. This is when the usual medical treatments don’t work anymore. And if you are having multiple ear infections over a very short period of time.

So now that you know the details and dynamics on ear infection, you can manage such an infection in a better way. We have also highlighted how the treatment can be done for the same.

But did you know- when you adapt certain prevention tactics, it will also help. Let’s see what these are:

Prevention of Ear Infection

So while this condition is treatable, it is best that you adapt certain prevention techniques before its onset. Make a habit to practice the following on a regular basis:

  • You should be washing your hands often
  • It is advisable that you avoid going to crowded spaces
  • In kids and small children, you should understand the concept of forgoing pacifiers
  • If you adapt the habit of breastfeeding, it is going to help the child when it comes to feeling a change in air pressure which leads to ear pain and in certain cases even ear infection
  • You should also very strictly avoid chances of secondhand smoking
  • For small children, it is very important that you keep their immunization up to date. When a child is lagging behind in vaccination, an ear infection is a likely onset
  • While there is still confusion on the use of cotton buds, it is advisable that you don’t use them on a regular basis. This is because when it goes deep inside and hits the inner ear, it can damage very sensitive parts of your ear’s structure. Also it can cause more harm, hence it is best that you wipe your ears from the outside only and don’t take the cotton bud deep inside.


understanding the ear structure

Ear infection is quite a common condition. It is one which can make an impact on your hearing ability as well. This article was a complete overview on the onset of ear infection, its reasons, symptoms, ways to treat it and effective prevention techniques.



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