The fact that ear infections are common among children doesn’t make dealing with a crying child who is experiencing ear pain any less difficult for worried parents. Dr. Bradford Ress understands the complexities of addressing chronic ear infections in children. During your visit to our Boca Raton, FL office, Dr. Ress will conduct an examination before recommending one of several treatment options.
What Causes Chronic Ear Infections in Children?
Chronic ear infections typically do not heal on their own. The condition is similar but not the same as frequently recurring ear infections. Dr. Ress treats both conditions. Chronic ear infections involve the middle ear, which lies behind the eardrum. An advanced infection or frequent occurrences of ear infections can lead to the formation of a cholesteatoma (abnormal skin growth), which in turn promotes more infection.
Children commonly have underdeveloped eustachian tubes. The tubes, when properly working, drain fluids from the middle ear. If they become plugged or if they are underdeveloped, fluid can build within the middle ear, putting pressure on the eardrum. It is typically this pressure that causes distress and discomfort in children. By placing ear tubes in children with this condition, Dr. Ress can provide immediate relief for your child. Left untreated, an infection can cause the eardrum to rupture.
Symptoms of a chronic ear infection include:
- Ear discharge
- Loss of hearing in the infected ear
- Sensation of pressure in the ear
- Ear pain
- Lower fever
- Difficulty sleeping
Treatment Options for Chronic Ear Infections
Two common treatment options for chronic ear infections are antibiotics and ear tubes. Dr. Ress may prescribe either or both of these treatments based on the severity of your symptoms. If your child does undergo ear tube placement, Dr. Ress will perform a straightforward procedure known as a myringotomy.
The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia. Dr. Ress will begin by making a very small incision in the eardrum using a small scalpel or laser. Excess fluids are then suctioned out. A special ear tube is then gently placed through the hole. The tube stabilizes pressure between the outer and middle ear.
The total surgery generally takes 15 minutes to complete. Afterward, your child will be observed as he or she wakes up from general anesthesia. Any pain or hearing loss that resulted from fluid buildup will immediately be gone following the procedure.
Give Your Child Lasting Relief from Chronic Ear Infections
Early treatment of chronic ear infections can prevent irreversible damage to your child’s hearing or other serious complications. Dr. Ress, an esteemed ENT doctor in Boca Raton, FL, has many years of experience safely placing ear tubes in children. Our Boca Raton office also performs hearing tests. Your child will be treated with compassion and patience at our clinic.
Dr. Ress is Board Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and Fellowship-trained in otology and neurotology. To schedule a consultation with our office, contact our office online or call (561) 353-7377.