Ear infection and tubes
While ear infections can occur within the outer, middle, or inner ear system, the most typical type of ear infection is known as otitis media and is caused by fluid buildup within the air-filled middle ear system behind the eardrum. Otitis media is very common in young children although adults will occasionally experience this as well. During an episode of otitis media you or your child is likely to experience sharp pains or dull aches in the ear, fullness, decreased hearing, and nausea. For young children, pulling at the ear ear and being overly irritable are signs of a possible ear infection.
Otitis media can become chronic if an acute ear infection episode never completely goes away. During these situations Dr. Disher or our nurse practitioner Danielle may recommend pressure equalizing (PE) tubes to help drain the fluid behind the eardrum.
Outer ear infections, known as otitis externa, can also occur. This type of infection occurs within the ear canal and can be caused by water trapped in the ear canal after swimming (swimmer’s ear) or a fungal infection. Symptoms of otitis externa include pain, itchiness, drainage, and decreased hearing.