Ear infections can cause pain and, without proper care, permanent hearing loss. Dr. Kumra is a skilled and experienced provider of techniques used to diagnose and treat ear infections, identifying the underlying cause of chronic infections so they can be prevented in the future and the risk of hearing loss can be avoided.
Ear infections occur most commonly in the middle portion of the ear, but they can also occur in the outer and inner ear. Otitis media, infection of the middle ear, occurs when bacteria and fluids become trapped behind the eardrum as a result of poor drainage. One of the most common outer ear infections is “swimmer's ear,” an infection that can cause the visible portion of the ear to become red and sore. Inner ear infections are rare and can include infections of the portions of the inner ear as well as infections that affect the brain.
Most chronic ear infections are caused by issues that prevent proper drainage of the fluid that passes through the ear canal or from chronic sinus infections that allow bacteria to migrate to the ear through connecting canals. When fluids cannot properly drain from the ears and sinuses, bacteria growth increases, resulting in infection inside the ear. Children are often more prone to ear infections because one of these important drainage pathways, the Eustachian tube, is still developing.
In most cases, an ear infection can be cleared with antibiotics to kill off the germs responsible for infection. Oral antibiotics, ear drops or even nose drops may be used, either singly or in combination. But when ear infections are chronic or when antibiotics fail to clear the infection, surgery may be needed to correct issues with drainage or other problems that can contribute to chronic infections. Special devices called ear wicks may also be used to enable medication to penetrate more effectively. Without proper care, recurrent ear infections can eventually cause permanent hearing loss.
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