An adult ear or earlobe infection actually stems from the middle ear or in the otitis media, this infection is often referred to as acute otitis media. A middle ear infection is caused by a virus or a bacterium from a flu, cold or coughs. It does not happen on its own, but as a product of another condition, such as the flu as we’ve mentioned above.
The throat, nasal passages and the Eustachian tubes are inflamed and swollen, and these parts are severely congested as an effect. The Eustachian tubes acts to drain the ear secretions regularly and adjust the pressure in the middle ear. Do you know that feeling of fullness in your ear when going up on a plane and suddenly pops when the pressure has equalized in the plane cabin? That is the Eustachian tube doing its work.
An upper respiratory tract infection such as a cold and flu or an allergy to dust, pollens and such can block the flow of normal fluid flow inside the ear. Being this is one of the most important jobs of the Eustachian tubes. This fluid then gather inside, instead of being drained out from the ear.
There have been some studies that both adults and children who does suffer ear infection get it from a viral source more than bacterial ones. Viruses tend to travel easier through air or through contact, which may be the reason for its prevalence of viral ear infection, even affecting the earlobe as well.
What are the Symptoms of Ear Infection?
Symptoms are usually felt a couple of days s throbbing pain in the ear. There is also a feeling of fullness inside the ear, making it hard to hear properly. Even if the person can hear, most come out as muffled sounds.
There are also instances that symptoms of a middle ear infection also includes ringing in the ear or tinnitus, fever, unusual ear discharge, feeling of nausea and vomiting, vertigo and in some worse case scenarios; hearing loss.
The infection itself is not the reason for alarm for an ear infection, but the tissues and the fluid accumulation can cause major problems such as hearing loss if not attended to immediately. The size of the swelling may be too much that it may completely block the infected fluid from draining through the external ear, thus affecting the earlobe aside from just the ear.
Children who are affected with an ear infection may have a hard time voicing out the aches and pains that they feel, as compared to a grown up. Parents or guardians of children who are aged between 6 months to 2 years old should be wary since their immune system is still not as strong and their Eustachian tubes are not developed yet. Children who drink from the bottle while lying down are also prone to have an ear infection.
Aside from a permanent hearing loss, developmental delay in talking and hearing is also a major complication from an ear infection for affected children. For both children and adults, the infection may rarely spread in the brain and the nearby organs and body parts in the head and neck area.
Children who exhibit symptoms are usually taken to their primary pediatrician before having an appointment with an ENT or an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. This is so as to rule out any medical condition or illness first before bringing the child to a specialist.
This also goes the same for adults who are affected with an ear infection. A battery of medical-related questions and exams is in order before doing anything to treat it.
With the help of a pneumatic otoscope, the health practicioner blows a bit of air inside the ear to check for any middle ear movement. If there is little or no ear movement, the middle ear is filled with fluid that may or may be infected.
How is an Ear Infection Treated?
Ear infection in children more often than not spontaneously resolve itself after a week or even two, so no treatment is done for the first 2-3 days after the presence of an ear infection symptom. Pain is treated with a warm compress and pain relief medication administration for both children and adults.
A round of antibiotics may also be given if the infection has become worse. Only worse case problems may call for a surgery to release the infected fluid in the middle ear.