Posted on Dec 13, 2007 | Comments 0
Ear infection can lead to temporary hearing problems associated with transitory speech and language problems.
If the infection is not treated properly or proper care has not been taken, these problems may develop into more serious issues.
The untreated infection of the ear will cause permanent hearing loss.
The common symptoms of ear infection include fever, sharp pain, redness in the ear, tugging of the ears, and irritability.
In case of severe ear infection, drainage of yellow to red color may occur. It is the sign that the eardrum has ruptured.
If the child does not respond to the spoken words or if the child has difficulty speaking or paying attention to the directions, then the child might have hearing loss due to ear infection. As the children have immature immune system, it is difficult to prevent the ear infection in children.
Following ear infection, usually children will have slight hearing loss because of the accumulation of the fluid behind the eardrum. Commonly, the fluid goes away by itself, but in some cases the fluid will persist.
If this fluid continues to remain behind the eardrum for more than three months or if the child suffers from recurrent ear infections, then pressure-equalizing tubes will be recommended to remove the fluid from the eardrums. Once this fluid is removed from the eardrums, hearing will be restored.
Considering the anatomy, sounds are collected by the outer ear, which then travels to the middle ear that has three tiny bones filled with air, and finally reaches the inner ear. In the inner ear, these sounds will get converted into electrical signals and sent to the brain.
If the person is acquired with ear infection, specifically middle and inner ear will get affected. As mentioned above, there will be collection of fluid behind the eardrum and because the ear is filled with this fluid, sound cannot travel through the ear and the result is temporary hearing loss.
There are two types of hearing loss. One is conductive hearing loss and the other is sensorineural hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss occurs due to lesion in the external auditory canal or middle ear. This type of hearing loss is seen in the age group of 40 and is a temporary hearing loss. If the chronic ear infection is not treated appropriately, it can lead to conductive hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is due to the lesion of the 8th cranial nerve of the auditory division or middle ear. Extended exposure to loud music can cause sensorineural hearing loss.
Oftentimes, middle ear infection goes away in two to three weeks without any treatment. Physicians may prescribe ten-day course of antibiotics for children below age six and a five-day course of antibiotics for the children of age six and older. If the child gets recurrent ear infections or the hearing loss persists, hearing tests should be performed.
Consult the physician if the child has earache and sense of fullness in the ear with fever. Treat ear infection and avoid spreading of the infection to the nearby bones.
Posted in: ENT Disorders