With winter comes an onslaught of colds, flu, and other ailments that affect the respiratory system. However, what many encounter is that what seemed like a cold can begin to create ear pain, trouble hearing, and other symptoms that don’t line up with what you know to be typical. If you start to lose your ability to hear, then you might try scrambling for a 24-hour doctor to find out what’s wrong.
The good news is that it’s probably an ear infection, and most such infections clear up on their own. But it’s still important to learn about such conditions, as they can result in permanent ear damage under certain rare circumstances.
What Causes Ear Infections?
Ear infections are generally caused by either bacteria growing in the ear canal or a viral infection that causes inflammation in the ear. In both cases, fluid buildup and the constriction of the ear canal is what leads to your reduced ability to hear.
While these two kinds of infections generally clear up within a short time, sometimes an infection can last longer, at which point medical help should be sought.
How Does an Ear Infection Impact the Ear?
In most cases, an ear infection has a very mild impact on the ear; it causes swelling that is uncomfortable and can impede a person’s hearing, but these generally subside once the infection is cleared.
However, in cases where the infection lasts longer than it’s supposed to, there is a risk of severe damage occurring to the ear’s different systems. Prolonged or repeated ear infections can lead to scarring on the eardrum, wear on the ear’s delicate bones, and more that can lead to permanent hearing loss if left unchecked.
What Should I Look Out For?
The following video outlines some of the most common symptoms associated with an ear infection:
An ear infection alone may not be cause for much concern, but it’s crucial to seek medical advice if you or your child experience:
- Symptoms lasting more than a day or two
- Symptoms in children younger than six months
- Severe ear pain
- Trouble sleeping due to pain
- Blood, pus, or other discharge is coming from the ear
To find out more about what to look for in an ear infection or schedule telehealth services, call BreezeFast today!