Adult Ear Infections: Types, Treatments and Preventive Measures
Without a doubt, children have various ear infections much more frequently as adults, but that doesn’t mean ear infections are not potentially harmful for them. Adult ear infections usually have a little bit different nature and so they require another approach in treatment. If not cured properly, ear infections can cause decrease in hearing and in rare cases the infection can affect human brain.
The majority of ear infections are caused by Eustachian tube. Human inner ear is connected to nasal passages by the Eustachian tube. Its main aim is to stabilize pressure between body and outside environment and also it’s responsible for draining fluids from ears. As the Eustachian tube is open to adverse bacteria, fluid and mucous, there’s no wonder why it can be easily infected.
You don’t have to catch cold to get ear infection. Quite often adults have infections simply because of mucous collected in the Eustachian tube. Rhinitis increases the risk of having ear infection. Finally, rare ear cleaning with cotton swab can also cause ear infection. As you can see, ear infections on adults are usually caused by bacteria, not viruses that are more common for children.
The most frequent symptoms for ear infection are pain, pressure or fluid in the infected ear. Sometimes patients notice decrease in hearing that has a timely basis. Usually people become nervous because of hearing loss, but in vast majority of cases no damage is done and hearing restores quickly after infection treatment.
Ear infections are not difficult to treat unless they have appeared not long ago. The mechanism of treatment is simple – all treatments are targeted at eliminating adverse bacteria or viruses that live in the Eustachian tube. Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics. Viral infections are harder to cure and so they require more complicated treatment. Sometimes even minor surgery as myringotomy is prescribed. During this procedure a small plastic tube is inserted into ear and used to remove fluid and restore normal pressure.
Myringotomy requires making a tiny opening in tympanic membrane that is, certainly, not permanent and will close within short period of time. If your ear infections have a chronic character, they may be caused by adenoids and so your doctor may suggest removing them.
To prevent future ear infections, you should cure your nasal problems as soon as they appear. Runny nose or rhinitis should be treated with nasal sprays that flush out bacteria, allergens, etc from your nose and thus they cannot pass to your Eustachian tube ad cause infection there.