Ear infections are caused by viruses or bacteria that enter your ear and begin to multiply. Within your inner ear is a tube called the eustachian tube. This tube allows air to enter your middle ear to equalize air pressure and help it stay clean and dry.
Viruses or bacteria that enter your ear can lead to swelling of your eustachian tube and cause a blockage. This blockage, in turn, can cause fluid to build up and lead to painful ear pressure.
An isolated ear infection is known as an acute ear infection. If you experience multiple ear infections over a period of six months, you may be diagnosed with recurrent ear infections.
Chronic ear infections are, simply, ear infections that don’t properly heal. They may start to clear up and symptoms may abate, but the infection is still present.
If you have a chronic ear infection, the severity of your symptoms may not be constant. You may find that symptoms come and go, and might include:
In very young children, increased fussiness, altered sleeping or eating patterns, and tugging on an ear can be signs of a chronic ear infection.
At Guadalupe ENT, the treatment process begins with a thorough diagnostic exam. If your specialist determines that you have a chronic ear infection, a customized treatment plan is created to address your specific set of needs.
Antibiotics can address some chronic ear infections and can be taken orally or intravenously. Medicated ear drops can also be a good treatment option in certain cases.
If the infection doesn’t respond to medication, surgically positioned ear tubes might be the best course of action. These thin tubes allow air to enter your middle ear, equalizing pressure.
To place the tubes, your surgeon creates a tiny hole in your eardrum. Any accumulated fluid is suctioned out, then a small tube is placed through the hole. They’ll usually fall out on their own 6-18 months after the procedure. By that time, your chronic ear infection should have cleared up.
To learn more about treatment options for chronic ear infections, call or schedule an appointment online with Guadalupe ENT.