A middle ear infection, also known as acute otitis media, is an inflammation of the air-filled area behind the eardrum where the tiny vibrating bones of the ear are located. Ear infections are more common in children than in adults.
The eustachian tubes, which are small tubes that connect the middle ear to a high point in the back of the throat, may swell and get clogged as a result of an ear infection. This may cause middle ear mucous to accumulate. This mucus may become infected and result in symptoms of an ear infection.
Since ear infections frequently go away on their own, pain management and problem-monitoring may be the first steps in treatment. Antibiotics may occasionally be used to treat infections. Multiple ear infections can be a frequent problem for some people. This may lead to major issues including hearing loss.
The signs and symptoms of an ear infection typically appear quickly.
Common child signs and symptoms include:
Typical adult warning signs and symptoms include:
A number of illnesses might be indicated by the signs and symptoms of an ear infection. It’s crucial to have quick treatment and a precise diagnosis. Contact your child’s physician if
A bacterium or virus in the middle ear causes an ear infection. This infection frequently develops as a result of another sickness, such as a cold, the flu, or an allergy, which enlarges and congests the nasal passages, throat, and eustachian tubes.
The hammer, or malleus; the anvil, or incus; and the stirrup, or stapes, are the three tiny bones that make up the middle ear. The bones are kept out of the outer ear by the eardrum. The middle ear connects to the upper portion of the throat and the back of the nose by a tiny passageway known as the eustachian tube. Your inner ear includes a snail-shaped structure called the cochlea.
A pair of small tubes called the eustachian tubes extend from each middle ear to a high spot in the back of the throat, behind the nasal passages. The throat end of the tubes open and shut in order to:
Eustachian tubes that are swollen and then plug themselves might result in fluid accumulation in the middle ear. The symptoms of an ear infection may develop if this fluid is infected.
The eustachian tubes are more horizontal and narrower in youngsters, which makes it harder for them to drain and increases the likelihood that they will become clogged.
Two tiny tissue pads called adenoids are located high on the back of the nose and are thought to influence immune system function.
Adenoids are located close to the eustachian tubes’ opening, so swelling could prevent the tubes from opening. A middle ear infection may result from this. Due to the fact that children’s adenoids are larger than adults’, adenoid’s swelling and irritation are more likely to contribute to childhood ear infections.
The following middle ear conditions might cause comparable middle ear issues or be connected to ear infections:
The following are risk factors for ear infections:
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