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Can Ear Infections Heal On Their Own

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Longer Term Effects Of Inner Ear Infections

How to manage your childs ear infection

Generally, the symptoms will clear up as soon as the infection is gone. However, the effects can sometimes last longer.

You might still feel dizzy and off-balance even when the other symptoms caused by the infection have gone. This can be a sign that the balance organs were damaged. Your brain can usually learn to work with these changes, so your sense of balance should usually come back by itself. However, if youre struggling to cope or the problem persists, you should see an ENT specialist. The doctor can check for any underlying causes and may refer you for vestibular rehabilitation therapy to help you to recover your balance.

Inner ear infections can also have a longer term effect on your hearing. This is more likely if you had bacterial infection, so your doctor might recommend a hearing test to check on your ears after the infection.

Can An Ear Infection Go Away On Its Own

Its truean ear infection can go away on its own in some cases. The term ear infection typically refers to acute otitis media, or an infection that impacts the middle ear directly behind the eardrum. The outside of the ear may also become infected, as can the inner ear, although these conditions are less common.

Ear infections are caused by viruses or bacteria. They can affect anyone, although children are more likely to develop ear infections than adults. Because some ear infections can go away on their own, treatment usually begins with self-care measuressuch as over-the-counter ear drops and pain relieversto ease symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms Of Otitis Media

Symptoms of ear infection include:

  • Ear pain: This symptom is obvious in older children and adults. In infants too young to speak, look for signs of pain like rubbing or tugging ears, crying more than usual, trouble sleeping, acting fussy/irritable.
  • Loss of appetite: This may be most noticeable in young children, especially during bottle feedings. Pressure in the middle ear changes as the child swallows, causing more pain and less desire to eat.
  • Irritability: Any kind of continuing pain may cause irritability.
  • Poor sleep: Pain may be worse when the child is lying down because the pressure in the ear may worsen.
  • Fever: Ear infections can cause temperatures from 100° F up to 104° F. Some 50% of children will have a fever with their ear infection.
  • Drainage from the ear: Yellow, brown, or white fluid that is not earwax may seep from the ear. This may mean that the eardrum has ruptured .
  • Trouble hearing: Bones of the middle ear connect to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain. Fluid behind the eardrums slows down movement of these electrical signals through the inner ear bones.

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Types Of Middle Ear Infections

Middle ear infections are called otitis media. When otitis media is accompanied by fluid in the middle ear, ear infections are referred to as serous otitis media, or otitis media with effusion.

Middle ear infections often occur after a cold virus or upper respiratory infection. They are also more common in individuals who suffer from allergies or enlarged adenoids , which can inhibit proper functioning of the auditory tube.

Bacteria, viruses, or fungi often enter through the auditory tube, which can then become swollen and blocked with mucus, preventing drainage and ventilation of the middle ear.

The main symptoms of middle ear infections include:

  • Ear pain, which may be worse in the morning or cause difficulty sleeping
  • Ear drainage
  • Trouble hearing
  • Fever

A healthcare provider can diagnose a middle ear infection based on symptoms and an examination, which involves looking at the eardrum with an otoscope .

Ear Infections In Babies And Toddlers

Do Ear Infections Go Away on Their Own? This Is What You ...

Ear infections in babies and toddlers are extremely common. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, five out of six children will experience an ear infection before their third birthday.

“Many parents are concerned that an ear infection will affect their child’s hearing irreversiblyor that an ear infection will go undetected and untreated,” says David Tunkel, M.D., Johns Hopkins Medicine pediatric otolaryngologist . “The good news is that most ear infections go away on their own, and those that don’t are typically easy to treat.”

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What Causes An Outer Ear Infection

Swimming can lead to an outer ear infection. The water left inside the ear canal can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

An infection can also occur if the thin layer of skin that lines the ear canal is injured. Intense scratching, using headphones, or placing cotton swabs in your ear can damage this delicate skin.

When this layer of skin becomes damaged and inflamed, it can provide a foothold for bacteria. Cerumen is the ears natural defense against infection, but constant exposure to moisture and scratching can deplete the ear of cerumen, making infections more likely.

Severe pain in the face, head, or neck can signify that the infection has advanced considerably. Symptoms accompanied by a fever or swollen lymph nodes may also indicate advancing infection. If you have ear pain with any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.

Inner Ear Infection Treatment

If youre experiencing any of these symptoms and they dont resolve in a few days , see a doctor. And by a doctor, we dont mean an emergency room doctor .

A doctor can look into your ear with an otoscope. They will be able to see whats abnormal and decide on a treatment for you.

This may include medications like steroids, antibiotics, antivirals. They may be in pill or ear drop form.

Avoid trying to take care of it yourself with home remedies, as this could result in worsening the issue. Untreated ear infections may lead to permanent hearing loss, so its important to see a medical professional.

Your ear should be better anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on severity. Inner ear infections sometimes take up to 6 weeks to heal, but it all depends on how bad it is and the treatment you get.

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Otitis Media In Adults

Otitis media is another name for a middle ear infection. It means an infection behind your eardrum. This kind of ear infection can happen after any condition that keeps fluid from draining from the middle ear. These conditions include allergies, a cold, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.

Middle ear infections are common in children, but they can also happen in adults. An ear infection in an adult may mean a more serious problem than in a child. So you may need additional tests. If you have an ear infection, you should see your healthcare provider for treatment. If they happen repeatedly, you should see an otolaryngologist or an otologist .

What are the types of middle ear infections?

Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways. They are:

Who is more likely to get a middle ear infection?

You are more likely to get an ear infection if you:

  • Smoke or are around someone who smokes
  • Have seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms
  • Have a cold or other upper respiratory infection

What causes a middle ear infection?

The middle ear connects to the throat by a canal called the eustachian tube. This tube helps even out the pressure between the outer ear and the inner ear. A cold or allergy can irritate the tube or cause the area around it to swell. This can keep fluid from draining from the middle ear. The fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Bacteria and viruses can grow in this fluid. The bacteria and viruses cause the middle ear infection.

Where Is The Middle Ear

do ear infections go away on their own

The middle ear is behind the eardrum and is also home to the delicate bones that aid in hearing. These bones are the hammer , anvil and stirrup . To provide the bigger picture, lets look at the whole structure and function of the ear:

The ear structure and function

There are three main parts of the ear: outer, middle and inner.

  • The outer ear is the outside external ear flap and the ear canal .
  • The middle ear is the air-filled space between the eardrum and the inner ear. The middle ear houses the delicate bones that transmit sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. This is where ear infections occur.
  • The inner ear contains the snail-shaped labyrinth that converts sound vibrations received from the middle ear to electrical signals. The auditory nerve carries these signals to the brain.

Other nearby parts

  • The eustachian tube regulates air pressure within the middle ear, connecting it to the upper part of the throat.
  • Adenoids are small pads of tissue above the throat and behind the nose and near the eustachian tubes. Adenoids help fight infection caused by bacteria that enters through the mouth.

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What Is An Ear Infection

An ear infection, officially known as otitis media is the inflammation of the middle ear. It is usually caused by bacteria that materializes when fluid builds up behind the eardrum.

The three main types of ear infections are acute otitis media, otitis media with effusion, and chronic otitis media with effusion.

Acute otitis media is the most common and this is what typically causes an earache. Sometimes this can be a dull pain and sometimes it can feel like stabbing ear pain.

In AOM, the middle ear becomes swollen and infected due to fluid behind the eardrum. AOM can also cause a fever. Sometimes this can be a dull pain and sometimes it can feel like stabbing ear pain.

Otitis media with Effusion can happen if an ear infection doesnt totally clear up and fluid stays behind the eardrum. Kids who have these infections might not have any symptoms, but a doctor can see the fluid.

Chronic otitis media with effusion occurs when fluid stays in the middle ear for an extended period of time or continues to return, even if there isnt an infection. This type of ear infection makes it difficult for kids to fight off new infections and can negatively impact their hearing.

Living With An Ear Infection

If your child suffers from several ear infections each year, youll want to look out for symptoms every time they have a stuffy nose or congestion.

Never stick anything in your childs ear to relieve the pain of an ear infection, to remove the tubes or remove a foreign object. See your childs doctor to have it removed.

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What Are Middle Ear Infections

The middle ear is behind the eardrum and connects to the back of the throat via the Eustachian tube. Known as otitis media, middle ear infections tend to occur when allergy or cold congestion blocks the Eustachian tube. As pressure and fluid builds up, ear infections occur when viruses or bacteria that have traveled up the Eustachian tube multiply. The infections can cause a perforation in the eardrum or potentially spread to other areas, like the mastoid bone.

Otitis media can occur in adults but is more common in children. In fact, otitis media is the most common illness that leads to children visiting the pediatricians office and the most common cause of childhood hearing loss. Children that attend daycare are at an increased risk of developing otitis media du to the increased exposure to other potentially infected kids.

Symptoms

Diagnosis

The doctor will likely ask about any ear pain, fever, or discharge from the ear during the consultation. Using an otoscope, a lighted, cone-shaped instrument, the doctor will visually examine the ear canal and eardrum. In addition to looking for redness and building of the eardrum, the doctor will test it for normal movement by blowing a light puff of air through the otoscope . A hearing test may also be conducted to check for hearing problems.

Duration and Treatment

Luckily, the symptoms of a middle ear infection typically improve within 48-72 hours though the built up fluid in the middle ear could remain for up to 3 months.

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Studies have shown that baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can effectively kill bacteria in the mouth. Research indicates that toothpastes containing high concentrations of baking soda effectively reduce bad breath. To make a baking soda mouthwash, add 2 teaspoons of baking soda to 1 cup of warm water.

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When To See A Doctor

Ear infections can go away on their own in many cases, so a minor earache may not be a worry.

A doctor should typically be seen if symptoms have not improved within 3 days. If new symptoms occur, such as a fever or loss of balance, a doctor should be seen immediately.

Any sign of discharge coming from the ear would also require a visit to the doctor.

Complications And Emergency Symptoms

If an outer ear infection goes untreated and doesnt heal on its own, it can result in several complications.

Abscesses can develop around the affected area within the ear. These may heal on their own, or your doctor may need to drain them.

Long-term outer ear infections can cause narrowing of the ear canal. Narrowing can affect the hearing and, in extreme cases, cause deafness. It needs to be treated with antibiotics.

Ruptured or perforated eardrums can also be a complication of outer ear infections caused by items inserted into the ear. This can be extremely painful. Symptoms include temporary hearing loss, ringing or buzzing in the ears, discharge, and bleeding from the ear.

In rare cases, necrotizing otitis externa occurs. This is an extremely serious complication where the infection spreads to the cartilage and bone that surrounds your ear canal.

Adults with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Untreated, it can be fatal. This is considered a medical emergency, with symptoms including:

  • severe ear pain and headaches, especially at night
  • ongoing ear discharge

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of An Inner Ear Infection

Ear infections can happen anywhere in your outer, middle or inner ear. The symptoms can be very different depending on where the problem is located. If the infection is in your inner ear then it can have a particularly dramatic effect on your senses of balance and hearing. Read on to learn more about inner ear infections and how they can affect you.

Why Adults Get Ear Infections

How do Kids get Ear Infections?

Ear infections are often considered a childhood disease. It almost seems a rite of passage for children to experience repeat ear infections. Then, around the beginning of their teenage years, it often stops entirely. By the time a person hits adulthood, it is quite common to be decades of years removed from the last time he or she experienced an ear infection. It almost seems as though it is impossible for adults to get an ear infection, right? Unfortunately, although not as common in adults as it is in children, it is still possible for adults to suffer an ear infection. In fact, around 20% of ear infections occur in adults. This begs the question, why can adults still get them?

How Adults Get an Ear InfectionAdult ear infections are just like the ear infections a person would have gotten when he or she was a child. Most middle ear infections are caused by either bacteria or viruses. A common cold, the flu, or allergy symptoms that cause congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat, and eustachian tubes can sometimes lead to an infection. Anything that makes the nose stuffy has a tendency to cause swelling and blockage of the eustachian tubes. Swelling from colds or allergies can keep the eustachian tubes from opening and this leads to pressure changes and the accumulation of fluid in the middle ear. This pressure and fluid will cause pain and sometimes persistent fluid can lead to an infection.

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Garlic May Interact With Some Medications

Garlic supplements should not be taken with medications that are transported by P-gp. This includes:

  • Colchicine
  • Tacrolimus
  • Verapamil

Because of the increased risk of bleeding associated with garlic supplements, talk to your healthcare provider about their use if you take an anticoagulant such as warfarin or if you need surgery.

Garlic supplements may interfere with the effectiveness of saquinavir and other medications, dietary herbs, or supplements.

Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements, including garlic.

How Ear Infections Resolve

There are two components of ear infections that need to resolve:

  • Infection the antibiotics usually take care of the bacteria, which in turn resolves the fever and pain within a few days.
  • Middle ear fluid it takes much longer for this to resolve, anywhere from a few days up to 3 months! The fluid slowly drains out through the Eustachian tube down into the nose. Taking repeated courses of antibiotics does not speed up this process, since the fluid is usually no longer infected with bacteria. Chronic nasal congestion or allergies can block the Eustachian tube and therefore prevent the ears from draining. Your childs hearing may be muffled until the fluid drains out. This is not permanent. See below how to prevent ear infections with tips on how to improve ear drainage.

Remember, since the runny nose and cough are usually caused by a cold virus and not bacteria, it may be 3 14 days before these symptoms resolve.

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What Is A Middle

The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum, which is connected to the back of the throat by a passageway called the Eustachian tube. Middle ear infections, also called otitis media, can occur when congestion from an allergy or cold blocks the Eustachian tube. Fluid and pressure build up, so bacteria or viruses that have traveled up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear can multiply and cause an ear infection.

Middle ear infections are the most common illness that brings children to a pediatrician and the most common cause of hearing loss in children. Middle ear infections can also cause a hole in the eardrum or spread to nearby areas, such as the mastoid bone. Adults also can get middle ear infections.

Children in day care have an increased risk of middle ear infections. The increased exposure to other infected children increases your child’s chances of getting infected.

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