Early signs and symptoms of ear infections

How to tell if an ear infection is coming

An ear infection is a common type of infection that is the result of an invasion of bacteria or viruses in the ear. Learn all about their early signs and symptoms here.

An ear infection is a common type of infection that is the result of an invasion of bacteria or viruses in the ear. These ear infections can affect the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The outer ear canal is called the otitis externa, which is often associated with swimmer’s ear. The middle ear infection is known as the otitis media and the laybrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear. Sound waves travel through the outer ear, into to the middle ear where these sounds waves cause vibrations. These vibrations are then transmitted into the auditory bones and into the cochlea (of the inner ear). Once in the inner ear, these vibrations are then transformed into electrical impulses and carried by the 8th cranial nerve to the brain. Ear infections can disrupt this process and result in my early signs and symptoms of ear infections.

Ear infections are no fun, for anyone, especially children that cannot explain their pain and become crabby and easily frustrated. Infants and young children are most often affected by ear infections, but these types of infections can happen at any age. Early signs of an ear infection include ear pain that can range from mild to severe. Other sides include fluid build up, dizziness, ringing, a popping sensation and a feeling of pressure in the ear or side of the face. Thick yellow or even bloody discharge coming from the ear is a sign of a canal infection. If the drainage is bloody, this could mean that an eardrum actually burst, if this happens, it is best to seek medical attention. Infants and small children that appear irritable and are constantly pulling and rubbing at their ears, may be experiencing these early signs of an ear infection.

These early signs then turn into full blow symptoms. Symptoms of a middle ear infection, also known as acute otitis media, often start 2 to 7 days after the start of a cold or other upper respiratory infection. Symptoms include ear pain (mild or severe), fever, chills, drainage, and loss of appetite, vomiting, trouble sleeping or trouble hearing. If there is fluid build up in the ear, the following symptoms may matriculate: popping, ringing, or a feeling or fullness or pressure in the ear. Trouble hearing, or balance problems and dizziness. In chronic otitis media, there may be pus in the ear. Symptoms of labrynthitis (inner ear condition affecting various ear structures), which can be caused by a bacterial infection or viral infection of the inner ear, cause dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ear, nausea, vomiting, and hearing loss.

Often times, ear infections are caused by a bacterial infection. When this is the case, antibiotics are required to rid the body of that infection. It is a good to seek out medical attention if you are experiencing these symptoms of an ear infection, because more often than not, the infection is due to a bacterial infection and early detection and treatment is best. Sometimes tubes may need to be inserted into the ear if an individual is suffering from chronic ear infections. It is best to seek out treatment early to prevent further complications that may arise from an ear infection including ruptured eardrum, deafness, brain abscess, meningitis, and enlarged adenoids. Like mentioned above, if the ear had bloody drainage, you should seek medical attention immediately, but this can indicate a ruptured eardrum. 

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