80% of children suffer from an ear infection by the time they are 3 years old.
Although they are most common in younger children, ear infections can happen to anyone.
With such a high occurrence rate, it is important that you know the signs of an ear infection. Some symptoms, such as ear discharge, are obvious and easy to spot. But most are subtle and can easily be overlooked.
We are here to help. Read on for seven overlooked signs of an ear infection to watch out for.
What is an ear infection?
An ear infection is a blockage in the ear canal that has become infected.
There is a tube that runs from the middle of the ear to the back of the throat. This is called the Eustachian tube.
If this tube becomes blocked or swollen then fluid can become trapped in the ear. This fluid can become infected, leading to an ear infection.
Often with an ear infection, there will be inflammation and irritation of the inner ear. If it hits the parts that affect balance within the ear, this can cause nausea.
This is because the body won’t be able to balance right with the inflammation.
2. Problems With Balance
Inflammation and irritation of the inner ear can also cause dizziness. This, in turn, can cause issues with balance.
If you have an ear infection you might find yourself losing your balance more, or suffering from spells of dizziness and vertigo. In severe cases, it can lead to falling over and possible injury.
If you have an infection, your body will often raise its temperature to try and fight it off. This is because many bacteria can only survive in a limited temperature range.
A fever without any flu-like symptoms may point to an ear infection.
4. Fullness in the Ear
You might not be able to see blocked Eustachian tubes, but you can feel them.
Swelling of the tubes puts pressure on the ear canal, leading to a feeling of “fullness” that you cannot “pop” away.
5. Muffled Hearing
An ear infection can leave you feeling like you have cotton in your ears.
The fluid in the ear canal can block the transmission of sound to the inner ear. If you can’t hear properly but don’t have anything stuck in your ears, an ear infection might be to blame.
Tinnitus, is the sensation of hearing noise in your ears, even in silence. The noises can be continuous or intermittent. They can vary in loudness.
If you suddenly develop tinnitus, it may be a sign of an ear infection.
7. Difficulty Sleeping
The signs of an ear infection can be more noticeable at night. With nothing to distract you, even mild symptoms can keep you awake. This is a particular problem as lack of sleep harms your body’s immune system.
The Overlooked Signs of an Ear Infection
As you can see, there are far more signs of an ear infection than just drainage from the ear.
An ear infection can cause a range of symptoms, not just in your ears.
If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from an ear infection, contact us. We can examine your ears and measure any fluid buildup. We can then give you the right treatment to provide fast relief.