Ear infections are caused by a variety of things. They are either viral, bacterial or fungal – and affect different parts of the ear. Common ear infections include the outer ear (swimmers ear), middle-ear infections and inner-ear infections. Most of these can cause a significant earache. Ear infections can be caused by scratching the ear canal when cleaning their ear, especially if a Q-tip or if sharp small object is used. A middle ear infection can cause an external infection to develop through the draining of pus into the ear canal through a hole in the eardrum.
Ear infections can be painful because of inflammation and fluid build up in the middle ear. Acute ear infections are painful but shorter in duration. Chronic ear infections do not clear up, or they recur many times and can cause permanent damage to the middle and inner ear. Middle ear infections occur when one of your Eustachian tubes (small tubes that run from each ear directly to the back of the throat) becomes swollen or blocked and fluid builds up in your middle ear. Blockages can be caused by allergies, colds, sinus or throat infections and smoking.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms, or home care has been ineffective, you should visit your nearest Urgent Care, where a doctor can examine your ear with special instruments that determine how much fluid is in your ear and also test the movement of your eardrum. Depending on what type of ear infection you have a doctor will prescribe medications, such as antibiotics or ear drops, and for more severe cases, pain relievers for quick relief.