Ear Disorders

What are the symptoms of an ear infection?

A Answers (5)

  • A Pediatrics, answered on behalf of
    When it works normally, the middle-ear chamber passes air and small amounts of fluid through the Eustachian tube, which works as a pressure equalizer for the middle ear. Respiratory problems, such as allergies or colds, may cause congestion within the tube and cause it to swell shut. The result is fluid and air build-up behind the eardrum. As pressure grows, the eardrum becomes swollen.

    The signs and symptoms of ear infection may include:
    • moderate to severe ear pain
    • dizziness
    • fever
    • fluid leaking from the ear
    • hearing difficulties in affected ear
    • irritability
    • nausea and vomiting
    As pressure grows, the eardrum becomes irritated and swollen (or "bulging") and the fluid may become infected with bacteria.
    This content originally appeared online at UCLA Health.
  • Symptoms of an ear infection include:

    For adults:
    • Ear pain, pressure, or popping
    • Trouble hearing
    • Fever
    For children:
    • Fussiness
    • Tugging at ear
    • Trouble eating
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Trouble hearing
    • Fever
    If too much fluid builds up in the ear, the eardrum may burst. This is the body's way of relieving the pressure in the ear. If this happens, you may notice fluid or blood draining out of the ear.
  • A answered
    Children and adults with an ear infection may show any of these symptoms in addition to the ache in one or both ears:
    • dizziness
    • ringing in the ears
    • fullness in the ears
    • hearing loss or muffled sounds
    • fever
    • headache
    • nausea or vomiting
  • Ear infections (otitis media) are often difficult to detect in kids because most children affected by this disorder do not yet have sufficient speech and language skills to tell someone what is bothering them. Common signs to look for include unusual irritability, difficulty sleeping, tugging or pulling at one or both ears, earache, fever, fluid draining from the ear, loss of balance, and unresponsiveness to quiet sounds or other signs of hearing difficulty such as sitting too close to the television or being inattentive. Fluid buildup in the middle ear also blocks sound, which can lead to temporary hearing difficulties. An older child or adult may complain verbally of an earache (ear pain).

    If the pressure from the fluid buildup is high enough, it can cause the eardrum to rupture, resulting in drainage of fluid from the ear, which may include blood and thick, yellow pus. This releases the pressure behind the eardrum, usually bringing on relief from the pain.

    Otitis media with effusion often has no symptoms at all. In some individuals, the fluid that is in the middle ear may create a sensation of ear fullness or "popping." As with acute otitis media, the fluid behind the eardrum can block sound, so mild temporary hearing loss can happen, although it may not be obvious.

    Ear infections are also frequently associated with upper respiratory tract infections (such as colds), so signs and symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose or a cough may be present. An ear infection is not contagious (able to be spread),but the cold that may have caused the infection can be. Symptoms of a middle ear infection (otitis media) often start two to seven days after a cold or other upper respiratory infection.

    Duration: Acute ear infections usually clear up within one or two weeks. Sometimes, ear infections last longer and become chronic (long term). After an infection, fluid may stay in the middle ear. This may lead to more infections and hearing loss.

    The signs and symptoms of acute otitis media may range from very mild to severe.

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  • A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    An acute ear infection is characterized by earache or irritability; history of recent upper respiratory infection or allergy; red, opaque, bulging eardrum; and fever and chills. Chronic inflammation of the middle ear is characterized by painless hearing loss and a dull, immobile eardrum (tympanic membrane). Since an ear infection can be quite serious, it is necessary for any individual with symptoms of either an acute or chronic ear infection to be seen by a physician.

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This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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