Ear infections are the most common reason for children’s doctor visits, and some adults struggle with recurrent ear infections, too. At ENT Specialists of Alaska, the team of leading ear, nose, and throat specialists offers high-quality ear infection care for all ages. There are two offices in Wasilla and Eagle River, Alaska, and several partner clinics, including Geneva Woods Ear, Nose & Throat Associates, and Anchorage Audiology Clinic — in Anchorage, Alaska. Book an appointment online or call your nearest office today.
The main symptom of an ear infection is pain. You may also have:
In infants, young children, and nonverbal individuals, ear infection symptoms to watch for include:
Symptoms may start slowly and build in intensity, so it’s important to see your ENT Specialists of Alaska doctor when symptoms start to avoid extended discomfort and pain.
Generally, ear infections are related to fluid accumulation in the back of the eardrum. This fluid buildup causes the eustachian tubes that connect your nose and ears to get clogged. And the fluid encourages bacteria growth, which leads to infection.
Ear infections are usually bacterial but in rare cases, they’re caused by a virus or allergy. Children are far more prone to ear infections than adults because their eustachian tubes are still narrow and short. This makes it easier for bacteria to invade the ears.
Certain factors can increase the risk of ear infections, including heredity and ear anatomy. Other factors that can increase your child’s risk of ear infections include:
If you or your child has recurrent ear infections, your ENT Specialists of Alaska doctor can find the source of the issues and prescribe an effective treatment.
Your ENT Specialists of Alaska physician uses an otoscope to illuminate the ear and examine it closely. This can confirm an infection, but to find the underlying cause of recurrent ear infections, they may use the on-site MiniCAT computed tomography (CT) machine for a CT scan.
With a CT scan, your doctor can get detailed 3D images of the ear and its surrounding structures. This can help with the diagnosis of abscesses or other abnormalities that may cause or contribute to chronic ear infections.
For many ear infections, antibiotics are the standard treatment. But if your child has chronic ear infections, their ENT Specialists of Alaska physician may recommend ear tubes.
Children can develop speech delays, permanent hearing problems, and other issues if chronic ear infections aren’t treated. Ear tubes are slender and aren’t painful for your child.
The surgeon places the tubes in the ear in a precise way that deters fluid buildup and prevents infection. Ear tubes generally fall out naturally in 6-9 months.
Need ear infection help? Click on the online appointment tool or call ENT Specialists of Alaska today.