Otitis Media: Symptoms, Causes, Cure & Prevention

One of the main causes of hearing loss is ear infection, or in medical terms, otitis media. Otitis media is an infection that can be found in the middle part of the ear. When a person has this, the chances of developing hearing loss increases. And this is true for both kids and adults. To help you better understand how this happens, here’s a comprehensive guide on the symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention of otitis media.


There is another type of ear infection called otitis externa, which we will be discussion on a separate article.


TYPES OF OTITIS MEDIA


There are 3 kinds of middle ear infection. The following details each of them.


  • Acute Otitis Media (AOM): This type of middle ear infection tends to occur suddenly. Fluid and mucus are trapped inside the ear, causing swelling, redness, fever, and ear pain.

  • Otitis Media with Effusion (OME): A person with OME experiences an accumulation of fluid and mucus  in the middle ear even after an initial infection abates. This causes a person to fill fullness in the ear and have difficulty hearing.

  • Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion (COME): With COME, fluid tends to reappear over and over again, even without the presence of an infection. This may decline the ability of a person to fight infection and in turn affect the ability to hear.

  • SYMPTOMS OF OTITIS MEDIA


    How do you tell if there’s a possibility of ear infection?


    • You are experiencing pain in the ear
    • You have a fever accompanied by loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
    • Irritability
    • Thick and yellow or bloody discharge
    • Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
    • Difficulty hearing

    CAUSES OF OTITIS MEDIA


    Middle ear infection is caused by a virus or bacteria. It can happen in several ways. First, it can result from colds, allergies, or respiratory infection. Second is through the narrow tube that connects the throat to the ears called eustachian tube. Sometimes, those viruses and bacterias living in the throat can cross to the ears, which results to infection. Also, if the eustachian tube malfunctions, it doesn’t drain fluid from the middle ear the way it’s supposed to. This can cause a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum and result to growth in bacteria.


    WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR OTITIS MEDIA?


    Ear infection may heal on its own. But if you have been noticing the symptoms mentioned above for a couple of weeks already, go ahead and consult with your hearing health professional. The following treatments may be suggested by your consultant.


    • Drink antibiotics
    • Minor surgery to drain fluid buildup

    HOW TO PREVENT OTITIS MEDIA?


    Follow these simple and practical tips to avoid developing middle ear infections.


    Because middle ear infection starts from colds and other illnesses, you must, at all cost, try to avoid getting sick. You can do this by doing the basics—wash your hands frequently, do not share utensils with others, avoid staying out too late in extremely cold weather.


    Also, avoid secondhand smoke and have you and your child vaccinated with flu shots and pneumococcal if you can.


    If your medical professional found out that your ear infection resulted to hearing loss, he or she will refer you to a hearing care professional. In some cases that leads to permanent hearing loss, purchasing a hearing aid may be suggested. The best way to avoid all these from happening is by following the preventive measures mentioned above. Remember that living healthily goes a long way not only for your ears, but for your overall health as well.


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