Parents are always worried when their child contracts an ear infection. They think that their child will suffer some hearing loss for the rest of their lives. This worry is only realized if the parents do not treat the ear infection. In other words, non-treatment of the ear infection will result in permanent hearing loss. Not the ear infection.
How Hearing Works
People have good hearing through a chain of events that turn sound waves into electrical signals. It is these electrical signals that our brain understands, and we can hear. This chain of events is simple to understand. The sound is gathered by the outer ear and sent to the middle ear.
At this point, the three ear bones start the transformation into electrical signals and send the sound waves on to the inner ear. The inner ear completes the transformation and sends the electrical signals on to our brains.
Common Ear Infections
For children, the most common ear infection is the infection of the middle ear. For adults, they need to worry about contracting what is called swimmer’s ear which is a bacterial infection of the outer ear. Other causes of ear infections are labyrinthitis, which attacks the inner ear and your balance and meningitis, a brain infection that also affects the ears.
How do Infections Cause Hearing Loss
Hearing, of course, is conducted through the transmission and reception of sound. What ear infections do is block the sound from arriving at the ear. This blockage comes when the infection produces a lot of fluid which clogs up the ear passages.
When an ear infection happens during crucial moments of the child’s development, the child may contract speaking and language difficulty. But that result is minor as it will take many ear infections to hamper a child’s speech and language development.
Ear Infection Damage
If left untreated, an ear infection can cause damage to the ear. This damage will result in some permanent hearing loss. The areas that will affect hearing if damaged are the middle ear, the bones of the ear or the hearing nerve.
To prevent this damage from happening parents or adults should get proper treatment once the ear infection is diagnosed. It should be said that this damage may not come unless the ear infection is chronic, severe and left untreated.
Ear Infection Diagnosis
Diagnosis of an ear infection is fairly simple and straight forward. The doctor will use his pneumatic otoscope to see into the ear. This lighted instrument will help the doctor determine if there is fluid in the ear or not.
What happens is the instrument will send a brief amount of air into the ear. If the eardrum does not move, then there is fluid blocking the ear and keeps it from hearing.
If there is any doubt, there are other more complicated tests that can be conducted to remove any doubt about the diagnosis.
Ear Infection Treatment
Since some ear infections clear up on their own, some doctors like the parents to wait 24 hours or so before administering any medication. This option depends on the age of the child and how sever the infection is.
There are some home remedies you can try first. A warm compress will help relieve pain, or you can choose to use aspirin or other medications you can get without a prescription.
If the ear infection is more severe and does not clear up on its own, then antibiotics will be used by the doctor. The amount used is also a depends situation. It depends on the age of the child and the severity of the infection.
Of course, when giving antibiotics to your child, you must remember to continue using them till all the pills are gone. For the best protection against reoccurrence of the infection do not stop the treatment when the infection seems to have gone.
Some Final Words
If handled correctly, ear infections are not as dangerous as some people make them out to be. You do not need to worry about any permanent hearing loss if you properly treat each ear infection your child has.
Because of the fluid build up your child or adult partner will suffer from some temporary hearing loss. This is normal. You should not over-react when it happens. Just treat the ear infection correctly, and the sufferer should have their hearing restored in no time.
How you treat the ear infection is a depends situation. The best way to handle the problem is to consult your doctor first before taking any action. The doctor can give you the right advice to handle the problem. You may not need to get an expensive prescription.
Ear infections are treatable and permanent hearing loss because of them are rare.