A chronic ear infection is fluid, swelling, or an infection behind an eardrum that keeps coming back. Although it seems not too dangerous at first, leaving it untouched can cause long-term or permanent damage to the ears. In severe cases, the infection can bore a hole in the eardrum that does not seem to heal. However, people can easily spot the symptoms of a developing ear infection. Here are some signs to look out for.
1. Middle Ear Discomfort
The eardrum is a thin, delicate membrane that separates the ear from the outside world. When infected, the eardrum is painful to touch or move. Meanwhile, an ear infection is a middle-ear infection. The fluid behind the eardrum swells and gets blocked, causing pressure.
It can be to the side or in the middle of the eardrum. If you feel constantly increased pressure behind your eardrum, you are likely suffering from an ear infection. The fluid can also spread to the inner ear, causing intense pain and discomfort.
2. Low-Grade Fever
A low-grade fever can be a classic symptom of an ear infection. The infection may even cause a sudden rise in body temperature. Body temperature rises when the eardrum is irritated, and the disease causes inflammation.
If the infection is severe, the low-grade fever can get worse. However, a low-grade fever is still nothing to worry about the first time you notice it. The fever becomes a sign of severe infection if a high-grade fever accompanies it at 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
3. Pus Drainage
The fluid from an ear infection can come out in a mucus-like consistency. It is a sign of general inflammation. If it does, the eardrum will drain pus, often accompanied by an unpleasant odour. If the infection is severe, the pus drainage is yellow or green. The pus drainage is clear or light yellow in mild disease. Pus takes 48 to 72 hours to drain. If it takes longer than that, you may need medical attention.
4. Hearing Loss
Ear infections can cause temporary or permanent hearing impairment. Chronic ear infections can damage the eardrum if the ear is blocked and irritated. If the middle ear is under pressure, the drum can rupture. The force also vibrates the eardrum, causing a ruptured eardrum.
Apart from the ruptured drum, the infection can also damage the inner ear. It incites a conductive hearing loss. Eardrum rupture can also cause sensorineural hearing loss. It is more difficult to recover from.
5. Pressure in the Ear
Having ear infections can sometimes be tricky. The disorder’s symptoms can mimic the signs often used to diagnose colds, sinus infections, or allergies. The ear feels full or blocked, and a person cannot hear properly. Similar to a blocked nose, the infected ear feels clogged. The person can feel the ear’s pressure while lying down or sleeping.
Because the eardrum is thin, people can feel it quickly upon touching the ears. Pain often accompanies the sensation, especially while handling it. People can also feel the pain by moving their jaw. Meanwhile, babies can feel it when you attempt to breastfeed.
Ear infections are common among children and adults alike. However, most adults do not experience it frequently because their immune systems are more developed. On the flip side, children and elderly adults experience it the most due to weak immune systems and low resistance to infections. However, it is not always necessary to treat the condition with antibiotics. People experiencing early signs of chronic ear infections should immediately consult their doctors for proper treatment.
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