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Loss of hearing is a condition that may be contributed by many factors, such as injury, aging, exposure to noise, and heredity. These factors often affect the auditory nerve cells resulting in sensorineural hearing loss, which is among the most common ear disorder. But, are you aware that ear infections can as well lead to loss of hearing? Perhaps, you didn’t know!
Conductive hearing loss is a condition that can be caused by ear infections. Ear infections cause the fluid to build up in any chamber of the ear, obstructing the movement of sound to the eardrum.
In most cases, ear infections usually heal on their own without medical treatment. Therefore, treatment options mainly rely on managing pain and monitoring infections. In serious cases, antibiotics are prescribed to clear infections. Children are more prevalent in getting ear infections compared to adults. However, other people are prone to having multiple ear infections, which may cause to hearing loss problem and sometimes result in severe complications.
Signs and Symptoms of Ear infection
The onset of ear symptoms indicating the presence of infection usually occurs very rapidly. In children, they include:
- Having uncomfortable periods of sleep
- Fever exceeding 38 C
- Crying more than usual
- Decreased appetite
- Loss of balance
- Trouble listening or responding to sounds
- Drainage of wax-like fluids from the ear
- Pain in the ear, especially when lying down
In adults, the common signs and symptoms associated with ear infections include:
- Difficulties in hearing
- Fluids draining from the ear
Cause of Ear Infections
Typically, ear infections may be as a result of either bacterium or virus invasion in the middle ear. These infections often result from other illnesses such as allergies, colds, flu, or other upper respiratory diseases, which cause congestion and inflammation of the nasal passage, Eustachian tubes, and throat.
Factors that Increases the Risk of Contracting Ear Infections
The following are some of the factors that make infection on the ear riskier:
- Age – children between the age of 6 months to 2 years are more susceptible to ear infections. This is because their immunity between that age is still developing. Hence, it’s weak to fight infections as well as the size and shape of their Eustachian tube, which is shallow and horizontally laid.
- Seasonal factors – there are specific seasons when there is a high prevalence of ear infections, particularly during the winter season. People who experience seasonal ear infections are usually at greater risk of contracting diseases when the pollen count is high.
- Children group care – children, raised in a group support care are more likely to have frequent colds and suffer ear infections. At group care, children are more exposed to upper respiratory diseases such as influenza, flu, and cold.
- Contaminated air – tobacco smokers or passive smokers are at a higher risk of having ear infections.
- Cleft palate – ear bones and muscles of children with cleft palate are usually improperly structured, making it difficult for Eustachian tube to drain fluids.
Red Flags That Indicates Need of Medical Attention
Signs and symptoms of an ear infection may indicate the presence of other underlying conditions. Hence, it’s vital to get an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment. Urgently contact your physician in case:
- Symptoms lasting for a couple of two to three days
- You detect unusual symptoms to children below the age of 6 months
- Severe ear pain
- When your child becomes sleepless or irritable after suffering from a cold or any other upper respiratory infection
- Draining discharge from your ear
Treatment Options of Ear Infections
Untreated ear infections may lead to severe complications such as permanent loss of hearing. Although, the majority of ear infections heals on their own without treatment. Treatment depends on the causative agent and the severity of the disease. Antibiotics are the most recommended treatment option, but in the case of virus infection, they cannot be used. It is vital to resolve untreated hearing loss as soon as possible to avoid chronic and long-term complications.
Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss
Untreated hearing loss may lead to serious consequences, including loss of hearing of proper care is not taken to resolve the condition. Also, the untreated infection may spread to other parts of the head. A doctor should diagnose any suspected ear infection.
Lifestyle Hearing Solutions
If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing due to ear infection and are struggling with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!