Ear Infection Causes, Symptoms and Everything You Need to Know


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Ear Infection


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Mumbai: Are you facing troubled sleep or pain in the ear while lying down? Do you have trouble hearing feeble sounds? These symptoms can be the signs of an ear infection. An ear infection is one of the common viral infections occurring during the winter season, which affects adults and children. This infection is caused due to the cold and infection in the upper respiratory airway and can lead to multiple symptoms.

The weather conditions can often facilitate the growth of bacteria and hence aid the spread of viruses, during the winter season which can cause infection and eventually lead to infection in the ears. The cold weather leads to bacterial infection and upper respiratory infection among children in cold weather whereas adults mostly face a fungal infection. The humidity in the atmosphere is mostly favorable for the fungi to multiply. Children are more susceptible to developing ear infections compared to adults.

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All about ear infection:

Ear infections can be acute or chronic. Acute ear infections may be painful and can affect the person for a short duration whereas chronic ear infections last for a long duration, can recur, and may lead to permanent damage to the middle and inner ear.

What causes ear infections?

Cold, sinus, mucus secretion, change in air pressure can lead to an ear infection. Apart from these, certain kinds of allergies, smoking, swollen adenoids can also result in developing ear infections. With the current work-from-home scenario, increased usage of earphones is also leading to ear infections.

Symptoms of ear infection:

People suffering from winter-related ear infections will mostly suffer from ear pain especially when they are exposed to the cold blast of air. The cold air can block the ear leading to shooting pain. Other than pain, there may be additional symptoms, some of them are listed here:

A feeling of persisting pressure inside the ear

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Hearing changes
  • Discharge of fluids from the ears
  • Ear infection can lead to dizziness and hearing changes

Kids suffering from ear infections will be fussy and cry more often without any reason.

Identifying ear infection:

Ear infection might go unnoticed in the initial days if the symptoms are not severe. It is important to visit the doctor for the ear infection before it spreads to other parts of the ear. Reoccurring ear infections can lead to severe complications like impaired hearing, the spread of infections, delay in speech among infants, and tearing of the eardrums.

Prevention of ear infections:

Prevent common cold – Take necessary precautions to avoid cold in the season. Wear warm clothes and keep your ears covered to prevent exposing them to the cold air.

Avoid smoking – Smoking can make the ear tubes inflamed. Therefore, quit smoking

Limit earphone usage – Limit your usage of earphones. Do not wear earphones or ear pods continuously the entire day.

Breastfeeding – Breastfeeding is one of the important factors to keep any infections at bay among infants.

Vaccination – Regular vaccination like flu shots the kids can help in preventing many infections.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is often described as ringing in the ears. It may also be described as the sound of hissing, escaping air, running water, whistling, buzzing, or humming noise.

Tinnitus Causes?

The exact cause of tinnitus is not known. Problems that can cause tinnitus or make it worse are wax buildup or foreign objects in the ear canal, ear or sinus infections, ear, head, or neck injury, otosclerosis (which is the growth of the bone surrounding the middle and inner ear), exposure to loud noise or hearing loss due to aging. It could also be due to diseases of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, tumors, depression and stress, and thyroid disorders.

What is the prevention of Tinnitus?

The common cause of tinnitus can be avoided by staying away from loud noises. One can try using ear protectors if in a noisy environment.

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Visit your ENT specialist as soon as you develop any discomfort in your ear. Hospitals are taking all the necessary precautions for the safety of the patient.

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