HNO Ärztin Arzt

Everything you should know about otitis media

.

Very often, an acute middle ear infection starts with a cold. In most cases, viruses are responsible for it. They enter your middle ear through the nasopharynx and your eustachian tube. There, the mucous membrane of the tympanic cavity becomes inflamed. Automatically, this creates altered pressure conditions in your middle ear. This in turn affects your tympanic membrane in terms of its ability to vibrate. The transmission of sound is restricted accordingly.

.

In this guide, you will learn everything about otitis media, respectively, about the symptoms, treatment, as well as diagnosis, and you will get more information about the entire development and possible complications.

The symptoms of otitis media

.

Generally, a middle ear infection is always associated with severe ear pain. In addition, there may be other symptoms and secondary complaints, which can then be an indication of a middle ear infection:

.
  • Headache
  • .
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling of pressure
  • Fullness in the ear
  • .
  • Redness and swelling
  • Feeling weak
  • .
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Ear noise and tinnitus
  • Conductive hearing loss
  • .
  • Liquid behind the drumhead
  • Ear outflow
  • .
  • Tear or hole in the drumhead

Diagnosis of middle ear infection

.

Let your ear, nose and throat doctor examine you and diagnose you using a magnifying glass and a light source. Most likely, you will also have a hearing test. This will help with the diagnosis. The doctor will then decide what treatment is needed for you. You may be diagnosed with an acute middle ear infection, followed by a conductive hearing loss. In addition, the otorhinolaryngologist will take a swab and do a bacteriological examination. This is preferred if you have an immune deficiency. The smear test may be helpful if there has been no improvement despite treatment with antibiotics. Through the bacteriological examination, the specific pathogen is determined by your doctor. Thus, a specific antibiotic can be used. Before your earache is treated, any allergies or diabetes must be taken into account. Therefore, you should describe all the details.

.

A swab for middle ear infection

.

The swab is taken directly from your middle ear mucosa using a sterile swab. Alternatively, a small spatula or brush is often used. With the help of the swab can then be determined the pathogens.

.

The course of antibiotic therapy for otitis media

.

It is very common to use antibiotics for middle ear infections. There are differences in the therapies when it comes to the pathogen. As a rule, such antibiotic therapy lasts seven days. Your doctor will discuss the therapy with you exactly.

.

How is a middle ear infection treated?

For the first day or two, an ear, nose and throat doctor will treat the symptoms of otitis media, but not the causes themselves. Most of the time, you will be given a decongestant first. This remedy is available either as drops or as a porridge.
In addition, you get a painkiller such as paracetamol.

.

Possible complications of otitis media

.

A wide variety of complications can occur with otitis media. In general, however, such adverse incidents are rather rare. Your health can be greatly affected by it, however.

.

The inflammation of the mastoid process is a typical complication. This process is located just on the temporal bone behind your auricle.

In this case, the skin is usually swollen and red. If you suffer very often from otitis media, it can also become chronic. As a result, your drum skin becomes scarred, and the ossicles are also damaged. Your ossicles are only a few millimeters in size. If you have a chronic middle ear infection, they can become fused or even completely destroyed. This may result in permanent hearing loss. Therefore, you should already at the first signs of a middle ear infection to your ear, nose and throat doctor go.

.

The inflamed mastoid process

.

This cone-shaped bone behind your ear can become inflamed if your middle ear infection heals poorly or not at all. The symptoms are much like those of otitis media, but they are more pronounced.

.

How do I handle my hearing aid when I have a middle ear infection?

.

Hearing loss can result from a chronic middle ear infection. If so, you can get a better quality of life by wearing a hearing aid. Observe as a wearer of a hearing aid but certain rules, if you have a middle ear infection.

.

It is best to avoid devices with a closed earmold, that is, with an ear closure. In this case, an open hearing aid fitting is much better. It is preferable to combine this with a behind-the-ear device. In this way, you continue to provide sufficient ventilation to your ear. A hearing aid can in no case cause a middle ear infection, because the infection occurs through the mouth and throat.

.

How does a middle ear infection occur?

There are different ways that middle ear infection can occur

.

The infection usually originates in the nasopharynx and is transmitted to the middle ear via the Eustachian tube.

Sometimes, pathogens also enter your middle ear directly from the outside via a defect in your drum. In rare cases, pathogens that originate in the bloodstream can also enter your middle ear.

.

There are two causes that are basically involved in the development of a middle ear infection:

.
  • Previous or current infection
  • .
  • Permanent ventilation of the middle ear
  • .

If the so-called tube, that is, your eustachian tube, is not properly ventilated and there is a ventilation disorder, it is always guaranteed to cause problems. Previous infections are usually bacterial or viral infections of your upper respiratory tract.

.

How can pathogens get into my bloodstream?

Bacterial pathogens or even toxins can spread to the surrounding bone if your middle ear already has an infection. If the toxin or pathogens enter the bloodstream, they spread and can even attack your brain.

.

What pathogens cause middle ear infections?

The following viruses and bacteria can be responsible for a middle ear infection:

Streptococcus pneumoniae: Initiates pneumonia.

Haemophilus influenzae:Inflames the nasopharynx feverishly.

Beta-hemolytic streptococci: Causes pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis, especially in premature infants.

Very rarely, flu viruses are also responsible for middle ear infection. Sometimes flu actually ends in deafness.

The same is true for viruses that cause scarlet fever or measles. They cause inflammation and then destroy the cells of the mucosa.

.

In infants, a middle ear infection is often accompanied by an infection of the upper respiratory tract. These are usually caused by influenza or the common cold. The course is usually comparable to the usual adult otitis media.

.

A middle ear infection in a child

.

Middle ear infections are very common in children up to the age of six. In the first year of life, about half of all infants undergo a middle ear infection. In the third year of life, it is even 80%.

.

Therefore, the complaints of the children should absolutely be taken seriously and the disease should not be dragged under any circumstances. Then the danger is great namely that it possibly comes to a persistent hearing loss in the child.

.

Notes and signs:

  • Ache in the abdomen
  • .
  • The child is touching his ears
  • .
  • Body temperature rises
  • .
  • Fever above 39 °C

If a young child or infant has very frequent middle ear infections, the adenoids are often enlarged. It may then be advisable to remove the tonsils. The operation is recommended when the following situations occur:

.
  • Within a year, there are several middle ear infections.
  • .
  • Behind the drumheads fluid accumulates.
  • The child is having trouble breathing through the nose.

Protecting babies and children

.

It has been proven that children often get sick when their parents smoke. The same is true for children who have already had otitis media, because then the risk of getting the disease again increases. An infant who is breastfed by the mother is less likely to fall ill with otitis media.

.