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What causes middle-ear infections?

Pain, pressure or maybe even discomfort that goes into the jaw or neck. Either way, it feels rotten and it’s usually what we all know as an ear infection. Sometimes, it can be deep inside the eustachian tube. However, sometimes it’s in the middle of the ear.

So what really causes middle ear infections or what’s also known as Otitis Media?

A huge factor in middle ear infections is that of an upper respiratory tract infection. Any build-up that occurs in the eustachian tube, such as mucus from a cough or cold can get stuck or build up in the pipe that runs between ear and throat. This then causes swelling, irritation, and inflammation. Because the mucus has nowhere to go, this then causes an infection to build up as it spreads into the middle of the ear.     

An enlarged adenoid (or soft tissue), can also be the cause of a middle ear infection. If this is a little too big for the tube, then an infection can occur. There is a cure for this though and under an anesthetic and small operation, the tissue can be removed.

Usually, middle ear infections are more prone in young children from a few months up to fifteen months old. In fact, 1 in 4 children will have contracted one of these middle ear infections by the time that they hit the grand old age of ten-years-old.

In children, symptoms such as tugging of the ear and general crying and discomfort that seems unusual could hint at an ear infection, as well as temperature. Children may also be more irritable, tired or look washed out and pale.

As adults, we are more able to communicate and in which case, you would generally sense or hear the vocal complaint of a pain shooting up into the ear or side of the face, feeling more lethargic and run down, and sometimes, some sort of fluid weeping from the ear.

Although ear infections do usually clear up on their own within 2-3 days, it’s important that if symptoms persist then a doctor’s aid will more than likely be required as you may need antibiotics. Don’t be afraid to call the surgery up and get your ears checked. You don’t want it to turn into something worse; such as a perforated eardrum. Ouch!