Types of Ear Infections
Ear infections occur when the ear becomes infected by bacteria or viruses, leading to inflammation and discomfort. There are several types of ear infections, each affecting different parts of the ear. Here are some common types:
Otitis media is the most common type of ear infection, particularly in children. It occurs in the middle ear, which is the space behind the eardrum. This infection is usually caused by bacteria or viruses and can result in symptoms such as ear pain, fluid buildup, hearing loss, and fever.
Otitis externa, also known as swimmer’s ear, is an infection of the outer ear canal. It often develops due to moisture trapped in the ear, creating an ideal environment for bacteria or fungi to grow. Symptoms include ear pain, itching, redness, swelling, and drainage from the ear.
Mastoiditis is a rare but severe complication of untreated or inadequately treated middle ear infections. It occurs when the infection spreads to the mastoid bone located behind the ear. Symptoms include ear pain, swelling, redness, fever, and discharge from the ear.
Cholesteatoma is an abnormal growth of skin cells in the middle ear. It can develop due to repeated infections or improper healing of a previous ear infection. Symptoms may include hearing loss, ear drainage, ear pain, dizziness, and a sensation of pressure or fullness in the ear.
Acute Otitis Media with Perforation
Acute otitis media with perforation occurs when a small hole or tear develops in the eardrum due to a severe middle ear infection. It can cause sudden relief of pain and drainage from the ear. Healing of the perforation usually occurs within a few weeks.
Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media
Chronic suppurative otitis media is a long-term infection of the middle ear that results in persistent drainage from the ear for more than six weeks. It can lead to complications and may require medical intervention for treatment.
If you suspect you or someone you know has an ear infection, it’s important to seek medical attention for diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Treatment options may include antibiotics, pain relief medications, eardrops, or, in severe cases, surgical intervention.