Heather Gomes, M.D. Otolaryngologist
Ear infections are most common during the cold and flu season. Some inflammation or obstruction of the nose blocks the station tube in the back and fluid builds up in the ear and sometimes that fluid in the ear drum can get infected.
How common are ear infections?
Fairly common in children under 2 years of age but can continue throughout childhood and some have problems that persist in adulthood.
What are the symptoms of ear infections?
Often kids will develop a fever, ear pain where they are pulling or yanking on the ear, irritable, fussy, not eating or drinking well, not sleeping well, sometimes they will get drainage out of the ear that is yellow or foul smelling. In adults, it’s ear pain, usually the ear feels full, they don’t hear well, they can have a fever.
How are ear infections treated?
Often ear infections will clear with antibiotics. If there is concern for hearing loss, persistent fluid, then for a sheer number of infections, placing ear tubes or pressure equalizing tubes is another option. They decrease the number of infections and the pain and symptoms that go along with each ear infection.
When should you consult an ENT physician about ear infections?
Very frequent or recurrent ear infections, such as getting 4-6 ear infections a year. Any concern for hearing loss or speech delay should prompt at least a basic hearing evaluation. The sooner you catch it, the better it is for the child and the quicker you can restore their hearing back to normal if possible.
Ear infections are a common problem for children and adults. Dr. Heather Gomes, Board Certified Otolaryngologist at Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute, explains the symptoms of an ear infection, the treatment options and when you should consult an ENT physician.