Ear infection is caused when viral or bacterial infection affects the middle ear which in turn leads to inflammation and accumulation of fluid behind your eardrums. Although anyone can encounter an ear infection, it is one of the most common conditions observed in infants. The initial symptoms may include fever, pain in the ear, release of pus from the ears, and a persistent throbbing in the ear. Ear infection can be very painful and troublesome if not treated soon enough. National Institute of Health reports that in most cases the infection disappears on its own without much trouble, but in rare occasions, they may leave you with adverse complications that you must be aware of.
- Hearing impairment- If you suffer from a chronic ear infection or if the infection has recurred after the treatment, you can face problems hearing. As we know, the infection occurs when fluid accumulates in your middle ear. If the fluid is not completely drained out, it may result in partial hearing loss. On the other hand, if the fluid remains trapped inside the ear for long it will harm the eardrums and the surrounding bones permanently, eventually leading to permanent hear loss. This condition poses far more a serious threat to infants as they are at risk of language and speech development delays as a result of hearing impairment.
- Ruptured eardrum- Rupture in the eardrum refers to tear or hole in the tympanic membrane or eardrum. Tympanic membrane is the fine tissue which separates the exterior ear canal from the middle ear. When fluid gathers behind your eardrum, the resultant pressure can break open the eardrum. This can cause blood or pus to flow out from the ears. If the situation does not resolve on its own, you may have to go for surgery.
- Mastoiditis- This condition occurs when the mastoid bone that is situated right at the back of your ear, becomes infected due to infection in the middle ear. In order to perform its function properly, the mastoid needs to receive air from different sections of the ear along with the Eustachian tube which acts as the bridge between the rear side of your throat and the middle ear. If the infection in the middle ear obstructs the Eustachian tube, then it can result in the infection of the mastoid bone. In certain cases, Mastoiditis can lead to brain abscess or Meningitis, an infection in the tissues covering the spinal cord and the brain, caused by bacteria.
In order to avoid such complications, you must look out for the symptoms, take necessary precautions and consult an Ear-Nose Throat (ENT) specialist immediately, if diagnosed with an ear infection.
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