Although they are not often serious, ear infections can be very painful and the discomfort caused may mean that you struggle to live your everyday life while you have one. Children can also be particularly affected by the pain of an ear infection. To help speed up the process of helping an ear infection to get better it’s important that you’re able to spot one in the first place and that you know what to do in terms of treatment.
The symptoms of an ear infection
There are three main symptoms to look out for when it comes to an ear infection: a blockage, discharge and, of course, pain. It’s often pain that is the most dominant symptom and the one that many people tend to notice first. This could be an intense and constant pain or it may be a pain that is less hard to bear and which comes and goes. In terms of the reasons for these symptoms arising in the first place there are a number of different causes, including:
- A blockage that is the result of something being put into the ear or a situation where there has been a lot of water in the ear. Swimmers often get ear infections as the water can mix with wax and cause it to swell up and block the ear canal.
- Trauma is another common cause for an ear infection. For example, trying to remove earwax from the ear can result in an ear infection, as can itching or scratching the ear. When there is trauma to the ear the lining can become damaged and it’s this that lays the ground for an ear infection.
- A problem with hair follicles. Although this is a slightly different type of ear infection, where a hair follicle in the ear canal becomes inflamed and forms an abscess this may swell up and essentially create a boil in the ear.
How can you treat ear infections?
It is possible to simply allow an ear infection to clear up on its own but if the problem persists or is getting worse over a period of time then topical antibiotic or steroid drops or sprays can be very effective in helping to relieve discomfort and bring the infection under control. It may be that whatever is causing the ear infection requires a little more professional intervention - for example, an ENT doctor can remove debris from deep in the ear to help reduce the potential for the ear infection to worsen. A sponge ear pack may need to be inserted into the ear canal if the swelling is very bad. It’s also useful to review what caused the problem in the first place - for example, if you’re using ear buds to try to remove ear wax and this has caused an ear infection then this may be something that you need to discontinue.
Ear infections are common and uncomfortable but they are usually relatively straightforward to treat and will clear up quite quickly with the right course of action but the Harley Street ENT Clinic in London is here to support you.