You have a long narrow tube that runs from your middle ear, all the way back to your throat. This tube is called the eustachian tube. It's job is to drain all of the fluid that is made to keep your middle ear moist. But in some cases, the eustachian tube gets blocked from debris. This causes an excess of fluid buildup, since it has nowhere to go. Generally, this is where an ear infection starts.
Probably yes. While it isn't something you should self-diagnose, you will likely know when something isn't right in your ears. Symptoms include:
For the most part, ear infections are easily treatable once they are properly diagnosed. The most common treatment options for ear infections are antibiotics — if the infection is from bacteria — or ear drops. Sometimes prescription medication and drops are used at the same time.
If you continue getting ear infections or if you have a severe ear infection, it’s time to look into a more permanent treatment option. This is usually when your doctor will have the surgery discussion with you. If the infection is deep inside your ear, a surgeon can go into remove the infection of the mastoid bone (middle ear area). Or if the small bones in your middle ear are severely damaged because of the infection, the surgeon can repair or replace them.
You might even need to have your eardrum repaired if it develops a hole or tear from the infection. Ear tube surgery is another option to help restore the eustachian tubes in your ears. These tube inserts help fluid drain away, minimizing any problems with your infections.
You can get ear infections at any age. But it's true that the younger you are, the more likely you are to suffer from ear infections. When you're young, the eustachian tubes in your ears are much shorter and narrower. Because the tubes are smaller, it's easier for fluid to build up when they get blocked, causing recurring ear infections.
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