Recurrent & Chronic Ear Infections

Just about everyone has dealt with an ear infection at some point in their lifetime. Ear infections are especially common in young children, but if you begin to notice that you or your child is consistently suffering from an ear infection, then it may be time to see an ENT Specialist, as this may be a case of recurrent or chronic ear infection.

What’s the Difference Between a Recurring & Chronic Ear Infection?

There is a subtle, but important difference between recurrent ear infection and chronic ear infection. An individual with a recurring ear infection is likely to experience ear infections all throughout their life, as they are simply more prone to developing them.

If the person has a chronic ear infection, however, then they are suffering from a single infection that has never been fully able to heal and instead continues flaring up over and over.

What Causes an Ear Infection?

Both recurrent and chronic ear infections are typically a result of an infection within the middle ear, which is medically known as otitis media. This part of the ear is located directly behind the eardrum, and can often become infected from a cold or allergies.

When the middle ear is infected, excess fluid or pus will start to form and press against the eardrum, usually resulting in a fair amount of pain or discomfort. Other symptoms of a middle ear infection include:

  • Draining fluid from the affected ear(s)
  • Partial hearing loss
  • Difficulty falling or remaining asleep
  • Added pressure and inflammation within the ear
  • A low fever

Why You Need to Seek Treatment Immediately

Ear infections, while mild at first, can quickly worsen to the point of an eardrum rupture. This rupture is caused by the pressure that is constantly rising within the middle ear, which, in severe cases, can result in permanent hearing loss.

Some cases of a middle ear infection can turn into a full blown rupture after only a few hours, which is why seeking the attention of an otolaryngologist as soon as you notice the significant development of ear infection symptoms is so critical.

Treatment for Chronic Ear Infection

As previously stated, a chronic ear infection is an ear infection that does not properly heal.

In order to treat the chronic ear infection, you must first find out what exactly is causing it.These infections most often occur because of allergies, sinusitis, or complications with ear tubes. Once a definitive source to the problem has been identified, your ENT Doctor can begin the treatment process to solve it, and thus, solve your chronic ear infection.

Treatment options range from simple home remedies and over-the-counter pain relievers all the way to surgery. It will be up to you and your ENT Specialist to discuss which treatment method will be best for you.

Contact Gulfcoast Ear, Nose & Throat at (727) 942-4005 to schedule an appointment for treatment of your recurrent or chronic ear infection in the Palm Harbor and Tampa, FL area.

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