Ear infections can happen in the outer ear, middle ear or the inner ear. Common symptoms include ear ache, discharge from the ear, hearing loss, dizziness and tinnitus. Not everyone will experience all of the symptoms above of course.
The history of the symptoms and examination of the patient is vital for diagnosing the cause of the condition. A hearing test is frequently needed and will be arranged by Miss Cheang.
Outer ear infections – commonly causing the ear canal to swell and sometimes narrowing or even complete closure of the ear hole. This need to be treated by suction clearance of the debris in the ear canal and antibiotic drops. If there is severe infection, oral or intravenous antibiotics could also be necessary.
Middle ear infections – this is more common in the children group, with symptoms such as earache, discharge and hearing loss. Behavioural problems can be seen in younger children. Occasionally there will be balance problems as well
Inner ear infections – frequently associated with an episode of cold and virus illness, it is presented as a severe, debilitating vertigo for 2 to 3 days, sometimes with nausea and vomiting.
The treatment options depends on the cause of the infection. These are normally antibiotics medication or drops and spray. Repeat suction clearance of the ear is needed in some cases. Other situations might see the need of radiological imaging, or surgery in the form of ventilation tube insertion (Please see information sheet for ventilation tube here).
Untreated ear infections can lead to complications, such as perforation in the ear drum, permanent hearing loss, mastoiditis (infection tracking to the mastoid bone behind our ear) or even meningitis and brain abscess.