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Hearing Blog

Ear infections may be painful

October 24, 2023

You wake up and notice that your ear is warm.  Maybe it is tingly and sensitive to touch.  Perhaps it just really hurts.  You may have developed an ear infection.   It can happen to anyone.  Old or young.   

Acute Otitis Media (AOM) and Otitis Media with effusion (OME)  First of all, "Otitis Media" simply means inflammation of the middle ear.  SO... "Acute Otitis Media" is inflammation and infection that occurs behind the ear drum in the middle ear cavity.   This is a painful type of ear infection.   It may be accompanied by fever.   In children it will cause relentless crying and overall fussiness.    Antibiotics are used to treat AOM.     If not treated the fluid may stay in the middle ear cavity for weeks and cause permanent hearing loss.


Otitis Media With effusion is different because the fluid that collects behind the ear drum is not infected.   There is no fever.   Often the fluid collects in the middle ear because of a cold, sore throat, or an upper respiratory infection.   In children the adenoids, and Eustachian tube which are not fully developed can cause OME.   Usually, there is no pain, but there will be some hearing loss or a feeling of fullness.    Sometimes nasal sprays will help to release the fluids.   If the fluid does not drain out and the body resolves the issue naturally then a myringotomy tube may be surgically inserted through the eardrum to drain the trapped fluid.    In children it is necessary to reverse the effects of the 'clogged' ear as soon as possible to stop the progression of hearing loss and language skill impairment.   


When I was about 3 or 4 years and sitting on the floor in front of the console tv I would not answer my mom who was talking to me.   Now, those of u that know me KNOW that I was a good kid and would not have ignored my mom.... and I guess she thought so too because she hauled me off to the doctors to find out what was going on.  It was discovered that I had a severe hearing loss due to Ottitis Media with effusion.    It was also discovered that because of the severity of the hearing loss I also had developed a speech impediment.   I could not pronounce my "R"s or "W"s correctly.    SO, my name was "Wosann KiefeW".   So, out came the tonsils and in went the myringotomy tubes.     Because I was growing, I kept popping them out, so I had 6 or 7 sets put in!  Thank goodness they have developed ones that stay better today.  Luckily, as the fluid drained my hearing returned to normal).   I then spent 3 years in speech classes to learn how to pronounce my letters properly.   UGH!   So, parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles.... if the little ones are not pronouncing letters correctly especially "R,W,B's",   It could be because THEY ARE NOT HEARING THEM CORRECTLY!   Therefore, they don't learn how to pronounce them.


Adults who have chronic ear infections may also develop hearing loss and a speech impediment because they cannot hear themselves properly.  Sometimes the hearing loss causes them to slur their speech.  The person with slurred speech usually does not realize it.  If you notice your loved one slurring their speech, then a trip to your physician or hearing care professional is in order. 


Both AOM and OME occur in both children and adults.  If you have pain or pressure in your ears do not hesitate to contact your hearing healthcare provider.  

Swift appropriate action will help to protect your hearing.  To Hear Better Is To Live Better!


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