Ear Infections in Louisville

What are Ear Infections?

Ear infections are caused by inflammation and excess fluid in the air-filled space behind the eardrum. The inflammation and fluid cause an increase in pressure resulting in considerable pain and discomfort. Typically, bacterial or viral infections are the root cause of otitis media. These infections are often the result of other illnesses that cause congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat and eustachian tubes. Common illnesses that cause these conditions include colds, flu’s and allergies. Otitis media is often caused when the small tubes in the ear, known as eustachian tubes, become inflamed, swollen or filled with mucus. The inflammation, mucus or swelling blocks the opening of the tubes and prevents fluid from draining.

Bacteria is the most common cause of ear infections and the narrow and horizontal position of children’s eustachian tubes make them more prone to infections than adults. The size and position of the tubes make it more difficult for the ear to drain properly and cause a buildup of fluid and increased pressure. The adenoids, two small pads of tissue located near the opening of the eustachian tubes, are believed to play a significant role in the development of ear infections. When the adenoids become inflamed or enlarged, they can block the opening of the eustachian tubes and cause a buildup of fluid. Children have relatively large adenoids, and when they become inflamed the adenoids are likely the block the opening that allows fluid to drain from the ear.

Common Signs of an Ear Infection

• ear pain

• difficulty sleeping

• excessive crying

• irritability

• difficulties hearing

• loss of balance

• fever

• mucus draining from the ear

While ear infections are most common in children, adults are susceptible to the illness as well. The signs and symptoms of adult ear infections are virtually the same as those found in children. If ear pain is severe, symptoms of an ear infection last more than a day, or there is a discharge of fluid from the ear you should seek medical treatment.

Check out this teaching video from Dr. O’Neil about how Chiropractic can help!