Ear Infection Differences
While infant and child ear infections are a fairly common occurrence, adult ear infections do not occur nearly as frequently. This is because children are more susceptible to ear infections due to their Eustachian tubes becoming more easily blocked. Ear infections, also called acute middle ear infections, can be caused by a number of different reasons in an adult.
The causes of adult ear infections are generally related to bacteria entering the ear, infecting it, and causing blockages to the Eustachian tube. This can also result in fluid buildup in the inner ear leading to infection or balance issues. There are a few ways this can happen:
- Sinus Infection
- Excess mucous buildup in the Eustachian tube caused from blowing the nose
In addition, smoking and certain medications can exacerbate any of these causes and lead to ear infections. Symptoms in adults can be similar to those in children and include ear pain, fever, dizziness, plugged ears, or temporary hearing loss. However, not all of these symptoms will be present every time.
A suspected adult ear infection should be looked at immediately by a doctor. Sometimes an ear infection will clear up by itself, and other times it will need to be treated with antibiotics. Most doctors take a wait-and-see approach before prescribing antibiotics. If ear pain is present an adult can choose to take a pain reliever such as ibuprofen.
There may be times when a doctor will have to drain fluid buildup in the ear. Rarely, surgery will need to be performed on the tube for recurring ear infections. If a recurring ear infection is left untreated it can eventually lead to hearing loss so it is important to have an adult ear infection, even if only suspected, looked at by a doctor in all cases.