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Most Common Ear Conditions

Ear problems can be extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant, especially when they last for days or weeks at a time. They can cause mild pain or discomfort inside the ear, hearing loss and even pain when swallowing. There are many different types of ear problems that occur for a variety of reasons. These are the most common: 

Ear Infections

Ear infections are the most common ear problems that occur when a bacterial or viral infection affects the middle ear. They most often occur in children, but adults are still susceptible to these infections. Ear infections can be either chronic or acute. Acute ear infections are painful but only last for a short period of time. Whereas chronic ear infections recur many times and can cause permanent damage to the middle and inner ear.

Ear infections often clear up on their own. However, if the infection has lasted longer than three days or if fluid is being discharged from the ear, antibiotics may be prescribed. 

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is a common infection of the outer ear that runs from the eardrum to the outside of the head. Swimmer’s ear is caused by contaminated water remaining in the ear for an extended period of time, which can lead to bacteria or fungi growth, irritation and tissue damage. Treatment may involve cleaning your outer ear canal to help eardrops flow to infected areas and prescription medications to help reduce inflammation and fight bacteria.

Ear Pressure

Ear congestion occurs when the Eustachian tube becomes partially or completely blocked as a consequence of common colds, allergies or sinusitis. It often leads to a feeling of pressure in the ear and can cause pain and muffled hearing. Ear pressure can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Sinusitis
  • Ear infections
  • Allergies
  • Earwax buildup

Treatment will depend on the cause of your ear pressure. Common at-home remedies include steam treatment, saline flush, and over-the-counter decongestants.

Ear Wax

Earwax is a self-cleaning force by the body. It protects the ear from infections and damage. However, earwax can build up in some adults and cause hearing impairment. Common risk factors that influence wax buildup include:

  • Ethnicity
  • Hearing aids
  • Over-cleaning the ear with Q-tips

One should not remove earwax blockage, especially not with a Q-tip. However, when the removal of earwax is necessary, one should seek medical treatment.

It’s important to understand what is causing your ear pain and how you can manage it. If you’re experiencing chronic ear pain, make an appointment with Dr. Marc Dean at the Ear and Sinus Institute today!

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Call Us to Schedule an Appointment: (817) 332-4060
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