How do you know if ear pain is serious? Learn the signs of ear problems and when to see a doctor. Read more: How Do You Know if Ear Pain Is Serious? Article
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Ear Infection Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Is it possible to prevent ear infections? Take the Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Quiz to learn the risks, causes, symptoms and...
Ear Health Quiz
How loud is too loud? Take this quiz to learn about your ears, how they function, and how to keep them healthy.
Picture of Ear
There are three sections of the ear, according to the anatomy textbooks. They are the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner...
Ear Infection Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Learn about the causes and symptoms of ear infections and how they are diagnosed and treated. Read about treatments such as ear...
Ear Infections: All About Ear Conditions
What's that? I can't hear you. Maybe it's tinnitus, or impacted ear wax, or cauliflower ear (yup, that's a thing). Find out what...
Related Disease Conditions
Earwax (ear wax) is a natural substance secreted by special glands in the skin on the outer part of the ear canal. It repels water, and traps dust and sand particles. Usually a small amount of wax accumulates, dries up, and then falls out of the ear canal carrying with it unwanted particles. Under ideal circumstances, you should never have to clean your ear canals. The absence of ear wax may result in dry, itchy ears, and even infection. Ear wax may accumulate in the ear for a variety of reasons including; narrowing of the ear canal, production of less ear wax due to aging, or an overproduction of ear wax in response to trauma or blockage within the ear canal.
Hearing loss (deafness) may be present at birth or it may manifest later in life. Deafness may be genetic or due to damage from noise. Treatment of deafness depends upon its cause. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by conditions affecting the: cochlea, eighth cranial nerve, spinal cord, or brain. Examples of conditions that can lead to sensorineural hearing loss include: Meniere's disease, noise-induced hearing loss hearing loss of aging (presbycusis), nerve injury from syphilis, hearing loss of unknown cause (idiopathic hearing loss), nerve tumors, and drug toxicity (such as aspirin and aminoglycosides).
Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
Middle ear infection (otitis media) is inflammation of the middle ear. There are two forms of this type of ear infection, acute and chronic. Acute otitis media is generally short in duration, and chronic otitis media generally lasts several weeks. Babies, toddlers, and children with a middle ear infection may be irritable, pull and tug at their ears, and experience numerous other symptoms and signs. Treatment depends upon the type of ear infection.
Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)
Swimmer's ear (external otitis) is an infection of the skin that covers the outer ear canal. Causes of swimmer's ear include excessive water exposure that leads to trapped bacteria in the ear canal. Symptoms of simmer's include a feeling of fullness in the ear, itching, and ear pain. Chronic swimmer's ear may be caused by eczema, seborrhea, fungus, chronic irritation, and other conditions. Common treatment includes antibiotic ear drops.
Foreign Objects or Insects in the Ear
Objects or insects in the ear can be placed in the ear by patients themselves or an insect crawling in the ear. Earwax can also cause ear problems if Q-tips are overused to clean the ears. Symptoms of an object in the ear are inflammation and sensitivity, redness, or discharge of pus or blood. When to seek medical care for an object or insect in the ear is included in the article information.
Ruptured (Perforated) Eardrum (Symptoms, Treatment, Surgery)
A perforated (ruptured, punctured) eardrum (tympanic membrane) is a hole or tear in the eardrum. The eardrum separates the ear canal and middle ear. Most ruptured eardrums do not cause pain, however, the condition can be uncomfortable. Bacteria, viral, and fungal infections are the most common causes a ruptured eardrum. Earwax removal attempts, changes in air pressure, and trauma are other causes of a ruptured eardrum. If you have a ruptured eardrum you may have symptoms like: Ear pain Partial or full hearing loss A mucousy or pus-like blood-tinged discharge from you ear Bleeding from the ear Ringing in the ear Vertigo Nausea Vomiting Middle ear infection Most people do not need medical treatment for a ruptured eardrum, however, some may need surgery depending upon the cause and size of the hole in the eardrum.REFERENCE: Cleveland Clinic. "Ruptured Eardrum (Perforated Tympanic Membrane)." Updated: Aug 208, 2014.
Inner Ear Infection (Labyrinthitis)
Labyrinthitis is inflammation of the labyrinth (the part of the ear responsible for balance and hearing). Doctors do not know the exact cause of labyrinthitis; however, they often are associated viral infections of the inner ear. Symptoms of labyrinthitis are ear pain or earache, ear discharge, problems with balance and walking, ringing in the ears, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and vertigo. Viral infections associated with labyrinthitis are contagious. Home remedies may help labyrinthitis symptoms and signs. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medication may treat inner ear infections, labyrinthitis symptoms like vertigo and nausea, and help ear pain.
Ear Infection Home Treatment
Infections of the outer, middle, and inner ear usually are caused by viruses. Most outer (swimmer's ear) and middle ear (otitis media) infections can be treated at home with remedies like warm compresses for ear pain relief, tea tree, ginger, or garlic oil drops. Symptoms of an outer ear (swimmer's ear) and middle ear infection include mild to severe ear pain, pus draining from the ear, swelling and redness in the ear, and hearing problems. Middle and inner ear infections may cause fever, and balance problems. Inner ear infections also may cause nausea, vomiting, vertigo, ringing in the ear, and labyrinthitis (inflammation of the inner ear). Most outer and middle ear infections do not need antibiotics. Inner ear infections should be treated by a doctor specializing in ear and hearing problems.
Inner Ear Infection (Symptoms, Signs, Treatments, Home Remedies)
An inner ear infection or otitis interna is caused by viruses or bacteria and can occur in both adults and children. An inner ear infection can cause symptoms and signs, for example, a severe ear, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, and vertigo. An inner ear infection also may cause inflammation of the inner ear or labyrinthitis. Inner ear infections are not contagious; however, the bacteria and viruses that cause the infection can be transmitted to other people. Good hygiene practices will help decrease the chances of the infection spreading to others. Inner ear infection symptoms and signs like ear pain and nausea may be relieved with home remedies or over the counter (OTC) medication. Some inner ear infections will need to be treated and cured with antibiotics or prescription pain or antinausea medication.
Earache: 11 Effective Home Remedies
Most earaches are not medical emergencies and can often be treated at home. You can try one or a few of the following remedies before visiting a doctor including warm compresses, cold compresses, pain medications, hydration, humidity, ear drops, chewing gum, sucking on candy, nasal spray or alternating your sleeping position to relieve earache symptoms.
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