Have you wondered if the throbbing pain in your ear could be caused by an inner ear infection? Inner ear infections are one of the many reasons individuals make appointments to see an otologist (someone who deals with all problems related to the ear, nose, and throat.) Dr. Bradford Ress helps patients in Boca Raton, FL determine if they have inner ear infections. Call our practice at (561) 353-7377 to make an appointment to discuss any ear pain or other signs of an inner ear infection.
What Causes an Inner Ear Infection?
Inner ear infections are caused by a build-up of germs in the middle ear. Bacteria enter the middle ear through a small connection to the sinus cavity. As the germs grow, they can lead to an infection. Without intervention from an otologist, the infection will get worse. In fact, untreated ear infections can lead to long-term and even permanent hearing loss.
Common Signs of an Inner Ear Infection
Inner ear infections typically cause at least one of the following symptoms:
- Ear pain: The pain caused by an earache may be dull or throbbing. It can also be sharp and shooting, depending upon the sensitivity of the patient.
- Drainage from the ear: Sometimes, patients with inner ear infections complain of clear or cloudy liquid discharge coming from their ears.
- Dizziness: The inner ear helps regulate balance. When this area becomes infected, it can lead to dizziness.
- Upset stomach: Many individuals who suffer from inner ear infections report that they have no appetite or may even feel nauseated. This symptom is connected to dizziness and loss of balance.
- Hearing problems, temporary hearing loss, or permanent hearing loss: Have you ever put ear plugs into your ears to drown out sound? Ear infections can cause this same sensation.
- Ear fullness: Ear infections can create a feeling of fullness in the ear. This feeling can push on the surrounding tissues, leading to aches in the jaw, sinus, and around the eye. Sometimes, patients may feel pain in the back teeth near the infected ear.
Additional Symptoms of Ear Infection in Children
In addition to the symptoms adults report when they have ear infections, children may express problems of the inner ear with certain behaviors. These behaviors include:
- Tugging on the infected ear
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Running a fever
- Change in mood
- Balance issues, especially when running, crawling, or walking
- Loss of appetite
- Crying when asked to lie down
Treatment for Ear Infections
After diagnosing a patient with an ear infection through a thorough examination, an otologist will recommend immediate treatment. The usual treatment frequently involve a course of antibiotics. Other treatments may be suggested to reduce discomfort, such as warm compresses against the ear or over-the-counter pain medications.
If hearing loss continues a week or two after treatment begins, an otologist can determine if further tests are necessary to rule out long-lasting effects. Permanent hearing loss is rare if ear infections are diagnosed and treated promptly.
Diagnosing and Treating Ear Infections in Boca Raton, FL
All individuals with signs of potential ear infections, or parents who believe their children may have an ear infection, are welcome to contact our office in Boca Raton, FL to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ress at (561) 353-7377. The sooner an ear infection is diagnosed, the faster patients can feel relief.