A chronic ear infection is a type that does not seem to heal. In most cases, the middle ear is involved with this form of infection.
Once the Eustachian tube is blocked, it can lead to an infection. The accumulation of fluid in the middle ear drives against the eardrum, triggering ear pain. If it rapidly progresses or not properly managed, it can cause the eardrum to rupture.
What are the indications?
A chronic ear infection can cause mild symptoms. The signs might affect one or both ears and can be constant or come and go.
The usual signs include the following:
- Sensation of pressure in the ear
- Mild ear pain
- Low fever
- Drainage of fluid from the ear
- Hearing loss
- Difficulty sleeping
Management of a chronic ear infection
A chronic ear infection requires medical care. Nevertheless, there are some home remedies that can lessen the symptoms such as:
- Applying numbing ear drops
- Application of a warm or cool washcloth on the site
- Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs
If diagnosed with a chronic ear infection, antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor. These are taken orally or intravenously if the infection is severe.
Ear drops are suggested if there is a perforation in the eardrum. In some cases, antibiotic ear drops, or a diluted vinegar solution can be used.
Surgery might be an option for a chronic ear infection if it does not respond to conservative measures or results to hearing issues.
The doctor might insert a small tube surgically via the eardrum to connect the middle ear to the outer ear. The insertion of ear tubes allows the fluid in the middle ear to drain to lower the risk for infections and severity of the symptoms.
Other types of surgical procedures are necessary if the infection has already spread. If the small bones in the middle are infected, surgery is carried out fix or replace them. In case the eardrum is damaged and not properly healing, surgery is required.