Pain experienced from an ear is usually referred to as an earache. There exists’ two types of earaches that can cause pain. These variations are clinically termed as Otitis Media and Otitis Externa. Otitis Media is an inflammation to the middle ear. Inflammation concerning the outer ear is Otitis Externa. Our focus of coverage, however, will focus upon the varying types of infections within the middle ear.
To shed light upon clinical terminology derived from the Greek, Otitis stands for ear inflammation, and Media interprets the middle portion.
The inflammation to the middle ear is due to the infection labeled Otitis Media. Such infection establishes itself in the region of the ear that is between the ear drum and the inner drum. In addition, this middle ear infection also incorporates a duct referred to as the Eustachian tube.
Middle ear infection is among the more common childhood maladies. Statistically, younger children can experience from two to three bouts of such infection each year. Teens and adults, though less frequently, are not excluded from total susceptibility of this ailment to the ear.
A common cold or a viral upper respiratory infection is generally synonymous to an occurrence of a middle ear infection. The correlations between these ailments are the rhinoviruses. These viruses of the nose that are the direct cause of common colds infect the Eustachian tube. This very tube is channeled from the rear of the nose to the middle ear. Such a scenario creates a direct pathway for the viral infection to travel. The effects to the tube are realized in both swelling and compromising of equalized pressure — which serves as standard functionality for the Eustachian tube. Complications arise due to the intensity and duration upon the compromised tube. These ill-effects can deliver severity and subsequent consequences upon the middle ear’s delicate structure.
For those people who possess inadequate Eustachian tube functionality, their susceptibility to middle ear infections is at a much higher risk. Heredity also plays a role in individuals prone to such ailment. Both groups of susceptible individuals are at additional risks in developing chronic middle ear infections.
In some cases, allergies that affect the upper respiratory system can be linked to middle ear infections.
Three types of severity encompass middle ear infections. Hence, each type and severity of clinical Otitis Media are listed, as follows —
- Acute Otitis Media;
- Acute Bacterial Otitis Media;
- Viral Acute Otitis Media;
- Otitis Media with Effusion;
- Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media
Congestion of the ears, minor discomfort and popping are the symptoms associated with the middle ear infection classified as Acute Otitis Media. These symptoms will alleviate upon the remedy of the associated upper respiratory infection.
When the normally sterile middle ear experiences contamination with the ill-effects of bacteria, pus with associated pressure and earache may occur. This type of middle ear infection is known as Acute Bacterial Otitis Media. Viral Acute Otitis Media has the potential to reach the categorized effects of Bacterial Otitis Media where children are affected.
The characteristics of the middle ear infection known as Otitis Media with Effusion, is a gathering of fluid within the cavern of the middle ear. Such gathering is due to adverse pressure at the fault of modified Eustachian tube functionality. This condition can be directly sourced to an upper respiratory infection. Symptomatically, it will not present either bacterial infection or pain. Uniquely, this affliction can proceed or follow Acute Bacterial Otitis Media. Due to fluid collecting within the middle ear, conductive hearing impairment can be experienced. Such conductive nature of this impairment is based upon the interference with normal levels of vibration in correlation to sound waves. Progressing over time, the gathered fluid within the middle ear develops a thick and glue-like consistency. As a result, the thickening of this fluid can also create conductive hearing impairment.
Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media is of the type among middle ear infections that generally affects people who have inadequate Eustachian tube functionality. A definite hearing impairment is usually realized with this variation of Otitis Media. Its intensity is due to a perforation occurring in the eardrum. Adding to the complexity is the establishment of active bacterial infection manifesting within the middle ear for at least a few weeks. As a result, the manifestation of pus can accumulate to such a volume that it will drain out from the ear.
A medical examination for all types of Middle Ear Infections is an absolute. Upon suspicion that either you or your child may have such an ailment, it is vitally important to be examined by a health care professional. Examinations include the physician or practitioner’s use of either or both an otoscope and tympanometer for the purpose of making an accurate diagnosis. The examining process will determine the course of treatment to prescribe.
Disclaimer: The allergy information on this website is strictly general information and should not be taken as official advice. Please schedule an appointment with an allergy doctor in order to get a proper and full allergy diagnosis.
This article was developed by Utah Allergy Associates of Utah and Adaptivity Pro Web Design