Common ear problems and symptoms

Common presentations such as swimmer’s ear, blocked ears, buzzing, and ear ache are among the more common problems. Photo: Pixabay

Ear problems are very common and something you will see often, mainly people complaining about wax in their ears. Common presentations such as swimmer’s ear, blocked ears, buzzing, and ear ache are among the more common problems. People do all sorts of weird things to clear their ears, using the dreaded cotton buds or paper clips, hot compresses, and worst of all, candling, to remove wax build-up in their ears.
Some of the most common ear problems are:
Otis Media (OM): Also known as your common, everyday middle ear infection, this condition is common in infants and young children. It’s often linked to the common cold and flu. Symptoms include earache, fever, and sometimes, temporary loss of hearing (due to the fluid in the ear making it difficult for sound to travel). The child could also suffer headaches, ear discharge, itchiness, dizziness and loss of balance, blisters along the ear canal or in the outer ear, loss of appetite and disrupted sleep patterns. Abdominal pain has also been associated with this condition.
It happens because the illness-related infection caused pus or fluid to build up behind the eardrum. Sometimes, the eardrum will burst which relieves the pain and makes the child feel better. This usually heals in time and but does require medical review to ensure the perforation has closed. If it is a mild case, the problem can be left to clear up without medical help, but if the child is in pain, a visit to the family doctor is a must and antibiotics could be on the cards. Otitis from Natura can be recommended in mild cases.
Glue ear: In very severe cases of OM, the ear fills up with thick fluid which consists of pus from the infection. This is known as glue ear. If antibiotics fail to work, a simple operation to remedy the problem can be done. A small hole is made and a grommet is inserted to drain the fluid. Often it is a case of using an injection of a really strong antibiotic. Like OM, glue ear is something children tend to grow out of.
Infectious myringitis: This is basically inflammation of the eardrum and either a bacterial or viral infection is to blame. It can be painful and may produce blisters. If the person presents with a fever, it usually indicates the infection is a bacterial one. Pain-relieving medications can be recommended, but the best advice would be to see the doctor and undergo a course of antibiotics.
Acute mastoiditis: This is the infection of the bone that sits behind the ear, the mastoid bone, and is caused by acute otitis. The skin covering the bone will become red and swollen and the patient will suffer fever, intense pain, and discharge from the ear. It’s a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention as it could lead to deafness, blood poisoning, meningitis, and even paralysis of the face. The person suffering will need to undergo intravenous antibiotics and or surgery to drain the infected bone.
More on common ear problems next week.
Lizel Britz 072 243 7707

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