Babies and young kids are prone to middle ear infections. Unfortunately, they get problems such as pus or fluid builds up in the ear canal. They can occur behind the eardrum. Surprisingly, the ear problem causes a lot of pain and, sometimes, mild deafness. Moreover, the eardrum bursts, releasing the fluid and making the child feel better. (Burst eardrums usually heal up by themselves.)
Also Read: Infections In the Ear: Inner, Middle, Outer
While most ear infections improve without any treatment, doctors prefer to use antibiotics to clear up severe cases. Young children are more prone to get ear problems such as middle ear infections, ear wax, glue ear, etc. Here is a list of common problems your child may have:
Common Problems That Can Lead To Hearing Loss in Children
Excess wax in the ear
The skin of the outer ear makes wax that helps protect the ear. The ear wax is important as it acts as an indicator of health. This wax generally comes out by itself and only your child’s outer ear has to be cleaned. Rarely, excess wax gets collected in the outer ear and may require to be removed.
Also Read: How To Clean The Ears Properly?
Different Types of Infections In the Ear
Some activities like swimming can cause infection in the outer ear causing tenderness, itchiness or discharge from the ear. It can be treated by your family doctor who will inspect the ear canal and give ear drops. If the infection is not cured, consult an ENT specialist.
Middle ear infections
Middle ear infections usually occur due to bacteria or viruses and can be triggered by a cold. Young children are more likely to get middle ear infections because they are still building up their immunity. Once your child reaches the age of about six, infections occur less frequently because the tube connecting the nose to the ear is mature by then.
Types Of Middle Ear Infections
- Acute Otitis MediaThis is the type of ear infection in which the middle ear gets infected and swollen. The infection occurs when bacteria or viruses enter the ear canal. Children suffering from this infection are often seen pulling their ears. This is not serious and can be cured with ear drops.
- Otitis Media With EffusionIn this type of middle ear infection, children don’t experience any kind of symptoms. But there is fluid buildup inside the ear which the ENT doctor can see during diagnosis. This occurs when the ears are exposed to harmful allergens such as cigarette smoke.
- Otitis Externa Also known as swimmer’s ear, this occurs outside the eat. For curing this infection, doctors prescribe antibiotics. Some common symptoms are a pain inside the ear, the redness and swelling of the ear or excessive itchiness inside the ear.
Also Read: Home Remedies For Baby Ear Infection
Foreign Objects Inside The ear
Your child can push anything into the ear, like a bead. Don’t try to remove it yourself, Consult an ENT doctor to remove it.
During a middle ear infection, the lining of the middle ear secretes more fluid, which can be thin or thick as glue. If the fluid does not go away in 3 months, the condition is known as ‘glue ear’. Your child hears inadequately through this fluid and may have difficulty hearing. However, if your child doesn’t have a problem with hearing and speech, your doctor may examine your child to see that the fluid has disappeared naturally.
If not, consult an ENT specialist immediately as children should not be left for a long period with untreated glue ear. Hearing loss can affect your child’s speech development, understanding of language, etc.
Also Read: How To Prevent Ear Pain in Kids?
Middle ear infections are common in babies and young children. But, it doesn’t mean that adults can not get it. Glue ear can occur after a middle ear infection. By the time a kid is six years old, middle ear infections are much less common. If your kid is suffering from an ear problem, don’t let him suffer. Make an appointment with modern and advanced ENT clinic. Meet with the best ENT specialists and get the most advanced treatments for problems.