Ear infections occur frequently in children, and they are easily treated and usually go away fairly quickly. However, an ear infection in an adult is generally more serious as compared to those in children, as it can impair hearing on a permanent basis if the infection is severe and is left untreated.
With an ear infection, your hearing is suddenly not as clear as it used to be. Let’s talk about what causes ear infections, what the symptoms are, and where you can go for diagnosis and treatment that works for you.
Symptoms of an Ear Infection
If you are experiencing ear pain or are hearing muffled sounds, you may have otitis media, which is an infection of the middle ear. Symptoms of middle ear infections in adults may also include drainage from the ear, a sore throat, and a fever.
What Causes Ear Infections?
An ear infection is usually a condition that irritates the tube which connects the ear to the throat, and the infection may prevent normal drainage of fluid from the ear. This can cause fluid buildup which leads to either a bacterial or viral infection.
People are more likely to develop ear infections if they smoke or are regularly exposed to smoke, if they have allergies, or if they have a respiratory infection such as a cold or flu.
How an Ear Infection Is Diagnosed
To diagnose an ear infection, the doctor takes a medical history and examines your ears using an otoscope. The otoscope blows air toward the eardrum to see if it moves, and a lack of movement indicates possible fluid buildup and infection.
Treatment for an Ear Infection in Adults
Treating an adult ear infection includes prescribing antibiotics for the infection (if the cause is bacterial), pain relievers, and decongestants or antihistamines. If the infection fails to resolve after a course of medication, the doctor may perform minor surgical procedures to decrease pressure in the eardrum and to increase fluid drainage. In some cases, a tube may be placed in the ear to facilitate drainage.
Ear Infection Treatment in Georgetown, Texas
Ear infections in adults can cause problems that range from ear pain to balance issues, hearing loss, and communication problems. It is in your best interest to see a skilled ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor) if you are experiencing any of these issues so that you can receive prompt diagnosis and treatment.
At Georgetown ENT, ear, nose, and throat surgeon Dr. Scott Franklin diagnose and treats acute and chronic ear infections in both children and adults. Dr. Franklin is double board-certified in otolaryngology and sleep medicine, so he knows how to efficiently diagnose your hearing problem and to effectively treat your condition so you can thwart any further hearing issues.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (512) 869-0604 or by filling out our convenient online request form. We look forward to being your healthcare partner for a lifetime of excellent hearing and healthy ears.