Origins can come from an infection in the nose and throat region or from tonsilitis. The middle ear is connected with the rear of the throat through the Eustacian tube. A viral or bacterial infection can thus spread to the middle ear. The tube is shorter for children so that the risk of an infection traveling to the ear is greater than for adults.
Symptoms and Development
Pressure in the ear then often turns into pulsating pain, particularly during the night. This can be accompanied by fever in combination with headaches. The infection causes the inner lining of the middle ear and the Eustachian tube to swell, meaning that the secreted liquid cannot exit. It gathers in the middle ear, adding to pressure and occasionally leading the ear drum to burst, allowing the liquid to exit through the outer ear. That ends the pressure and the pain. The ear drum closes by itself in a few days, so there is nothing to worry about.
Ear pain when you pull at the ear lobe or apply pressure to the ear cartilage is a sign of otitis externa, an inflation of the outer auditory channel. This occurs most often in sumer, when children spend a substantial time in or under water. Normally there is no fever.
Fluid behind the eardrum can be a side effect of middle ear inflation and is caused by repeated viral infections, particularly in winter.
It can result in hearing loss because the small middle ear bones can no longer move enough due to the accumulated fluid. They are there to carry sound waves toward the mid-ear.
This can also happen through reoccuring middle-ear infections. An appointment with a doctor and a hearing test are advisable in both cases, and removal of the adenoids could be recommendable.
- Anti-biotics, if caused by bacteria.
In case of fluid behind the ear drum, a hearing test and possible removal of the adenoids.
- Ear drops and other pain and inflamation reducing medication in case of an outer ear infection.
- Paracetamol can be used in the form of syrup or suppositories in case of strong pain.
- Onion bags are a tried home remedy. Place a sack of chopped onions on the ear several times a day. Make sure the bag is made of thin material.
- Sudden ear aches, during a flight, for instance, can be treated by telling the child to hold his nose and exhale. Chewing gum and drinking in small gulps can also help.
About 80 percent of middle ear infections are cased by viruses and cannot be treated with antibioatics, at least not unless and until later added bacterial infection.
An immediate visit to your pediatrician is imperative in any case, should your child be younger then 3 months and develops fever. Antibiotics are necessary immediately in this case.