The typical markers of this condition are inflammation, with noticeable redness and swelling, and a fluid build-up behind the eardrum. Adults can develop this condition, but it most commonly affects infants between 6-15 months old.
Symptoms to look out for in young children are:
- Pulling at the ear
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lack of appetite
- Restlessness, irritability
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Inconsolable crying
In adults, the infection usually resolves in a few days, with symptoms such as earache, fever, nausea, and slight hearing loss, with or without fluid leakage.
Swimming is a common cause of outer ear infections. This is because water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and if it becomes trapped in the ear canal, infection is a natural result. Frequent exposure of ear wax to moisture can deplete it. As ear wax has a protecting function, this can increase the likelihood of infection. If you are experiencing frequent outer ear infections, this could be due to damage or injury to the skin lining the ear canal (this can be caused by using cotton swabs in your ears or using certain headphones). If this layer of skin is already inflamed, it is easier for bacterial overgrowth to occur.
What to do next
Our team of specialists can help you get the best possible treatment for your ear infection. Come to see us if you are suffering with an existing infection, would like to discuss recurrent infections, or have any questions or concerns. Give us a call or use our online booking system to make an appointment today.
Carefully drying your ears after swimming and showering can reduce the risk of infection. Avoid inserting anything into your ears to dry them.
Not if it is treated promptly. If left to develop, outer ear infections can lead to temporary hearing loss, damage to the bones in the ear, or systemic infection.
Yes. If left untreated, Swimmer’s ear can cause pain that radiates from the ear into the face, side of the head, or the neck. If the infection spreads, it can cause swollen lymph nodes or fever. But do not wait for severe symptoms to see a doctor. Make an appointment as soon as you experience mild symptoms.