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What causes ear infections?

Inflammation in the middle ear most often starts after you've had a sore throat, cold, or other upper respiratory problem. The infection spreads to the middle ear and causes fluid buildup behind the eardrum.

What are the symptoms of an ear infection? 

The following are the most common symptoms of ear infections in adults :

  •   Ear Pain
  •  Feeling of fullness in the ear
  •  Fluid draining from the ear
  •  Fever
  •  Hearing loss

*These symptoms may look like other conditions or health problems

How is an ear infection diagnosed?

Your health history will be reviewed with your health care provider, and a physical exam will be performed. At this time, your outer ears and eardrums will be checked by an otoscope, a lighted tool that allows the physician to see inside the ear. A pneumatic otoscope blows a puff of air into the ear to test the eardrum. When there is fluid or an infection in the ear, the movement is decreased.

A tympanometry may also be performed, testing that directs air and sound to the middle ear. 

If you have frequent ear infections, your physician may suggest heaving a hearing test. 

How is an ear infection treated?

Your physician will figure out the best treatment based on:

  •   How old you are
  •  Your overall health and health history
  •  How sick you are
  •  How well you can handle specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  •  How long the condition is expected to last
  •  Your opinion or preference

Treatments may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Pain relievers
  • Insertion of small tubes in the eardrums from chronic ear infections