Ear infections are one of the most common childhood ailments; in fact, more children visit a doctor to treat ear infections in Wynnewood than any other medical condition. They are not just confined to kids, either – adults can experience ear infections, too. Ear pain is obviously the most common sign, but there are other symptoms you may experience, as well. Some are likely to surprise you.
Diagnosing an Ear Infection
It’s pretty easy to diagnose an ear infection; your Wynnewood audiologist will examine your ears to check for fluid buildup and drainage – that and throbbing ear pain are the telltale signs of acute otitis media, the medical term for a middle ear infection (the most common type). But there are frequently other symptoms, as well – ones you might not associate with an ear infection. These include:
- Dizziness and vomiting. The auditory system is closely linked to the balance system, so an ear infection can interfere with signals sent to the brain that help with mobility, triggering dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Additionally, your ear infection may be the result of a virus that affects other parts of your body.
- Changes in appetite. A loss of appetite is common with any illness. We know we should eat (“feed a cold, starve a fever,” after all), but often the very idea of food turns our stomachs. If your ear infection has been caused by a head cold, it can interfere with your upper aerodigestive tract, making it difficult for you to taste food. Sometimes, the pain associated with an ear infection makes it hurt when you chew.
- Fever is a sign that your immune system is trying to fight off an infection. Not all who develop an ear infection will experience a fever, but about half of all children are likely to have one. If your child is younger than six months old and exhibiting behavioral changes such as excessive crying and fussiness, take them to the doctor. Similarly, if a child of any age experiences a temperature higher than 102°, they should be seen by a pediatrician.
- Snoring and bad breath. Swollen adenoids, tissues in the back of the nose and throat that help fight infections, are often associated with ear infections. Inflammation of these tissues can block the air passages, forcing you to breathe through your mouth, which can cause snoring. Swollen adenoids may also contribute to halitosis (bad breath).
- Inattention and speech delays. Excess fluid in the middle ear can cause temporary or fluctuating hearing loss, making it seem like your child is inattentive at home or school when in reality, they are simply struggling to understand. Hearing loss in younger children can also interfere with speech and language development. If your child appears to be struggling with their speech and vocabulary, have their pediatrician check for the possibility of a chronic ear infection.
For more information on how to spot the signs of an ear infection and remedies to ease the symptoms, reach out to your Wynnewood audiologist today.