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Cures for Chronic Ear Infections

by Brad McHargue
  • Overview

    An ear infection, known medically as otitis media, is the phrase most often used to describe the infection or inflammation of the structures of the middle ear. The condition becomes chronic when it occurs multiple times in a year or lasts longer than a typical ear infection. A chronic ear infection is easily treatable, though treatment is dependent on the severity of the condition.
  • Symptoms

    According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a chronic ear infection can take several years to fully develop. Symptoms include a persistent pain and feeling of pressure in the ear, difficulty maintaining balance, hearing loss, fever and headache and pus that drains out of the ear. According to Medline Plus, the symptoms are usually not as severe as those associated with an acute ear infection (one that occurs suddenly). In children these symptoms may be accompanied by irritability and fussiness.
  • Treatment

    Treating a chronic ear infection relies on the severity and progression of the condition, and typically involves medication or surgery. According to the Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia, the first method is typically through oral antibiotics, though at times intravenous medication may be used. If there is a hole in the ear drum, antibiotic ear drops may be used. These are typically used long-term. In some cases a small tube known as a ventilation tube may be used to allow for the proper passage of air. This is most commonly used in younger children. In extremely severe cases, surgery may be recommended. There are several types of surgery to consider including a mastoidectomy, which involves eradicating the infection from the mastoid bone; a myringotomy, which involves a small tube being placed in the ear to promote drainage and equalize pressure; and surgery to repair the eardrum if damaged. In all cases your doctor will determine which method of treatment is best for your individual condition. Always consult a doctor before attempting to treat an ear infection on your own.

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