Ear Problems In Children
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What is Ear Problems?

Most of the young children are ailed by ear problems, most common of them being earaches. These happen usually because of an infection and might lead to hearing problems, which in turn may inhibit speech and learning, if not given proper treatment.

Causes of Ear Problems in Children

A viral or bacterial infection, usually as a complication to a respiratory tract infection, happens to be the most common cause of an earache. This infection leads to an inflammation in the middle ear. This condition is called as otitis media, which if not treated, can progress to become a chronic form called Glue Ear, where a sticky fluid fills the middle ear (ear-drum).

Due to this, a pressure builds up inside the ear causing the pain. At times, the pressure may result in the rupture of the ear-drum. Though single rupture is not serious, but if repetitive ruptures occur, it might result in the loss of hearing. When the fluid gets filled, the hearing may get muffled.

But it takes the body around 3 to 4 days to absorb the fluid. Once this fluid is absorbed, the hearing will return to normalcy. But this is not the only cause of the earaches amongst the children. At times, some genetic problems, congenital abnormalities, maternal infections during the pregnancy and meningitis or head injury in the childhood may lead to the earaches and other ear problems.

The inflammation in the outer ear, due to infection, dermatitis, eczema or presence of foreign bodies in the ear, results in otitis externa. An earache amongst kids does not always indicate an ear infection as the root cause of the ache. It might be due to some other causes like teething, sore throat, symptoms of cold, runny nose, accumulation of earwax, air pressure changes, fluid buildup without infection (which is called as serous otitis) etcetera.

Who's affected?

It is usually children upto the age of 8 years who are affected most by otitis media. This middle ear infection is mostly seen in young children than in adults. The reason is that young children have soft Eustachian tubes, which can get blocked easily. Almost all children will have experienced earaches and ear infections at least once by the time they are seven.

Boys are seen to have more incidences of ear infection than girls. It is seen that ear infection occurs most amongst the children who spend time in day care settings, are bottle fed, use a pacifier, live in households where parents or caretakers smoke, have had previous ear infection or have problems since birth (congenital abnormalities like cleft lip, cleft palate, Down‘s Syndrome).

Symptoms of Ear Problems in Children

Pain and fever happen to be the main symptoms of otitis media. Since smaller children cannot describe the feeling of pain, they are observed as getting irritable or as pulling the ear that is affected. If you notice a discharge coming out of the ear, know that the ear drum of the child had burst.

While this will lead to a release in the pain, make sure that it is not pointing towards otitis externa. In childhood or infancy, a loss of hearing may go unnoticed. But as children grow up, care takers may realize that the child is having hearing problems if the child fails to react to any sound at all.

Treatment of Ear Problems in Children

You can administer pain killers in order to relieve off the earache. In the case of an ear infection, consult a doctor. The doctor can diagnose otitis media by looking into the ear by using an auriscope (an instrument which helps look inside the ear).

In case of infection, one can also administer antibiotics, but it is usually seen, that even acute cases of otitis media clear up themselves within a few days, without being given any medicine for. In case of a glue ear, doctors may perform a surgery in order to insert a tiny drainage tube called grommet inside the ear.

In the case of hearing loss, get a thorough assessment done by an expert using a variety of check-ups and test in order to know the extent of hearing loss and get the treatment done accordingly.

Post Your Comments

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I need to know more my daughter had tubes put in at the age of 2 and she is 5 know and having ear infections all the time and her tubes have not fallen out!
#1 - melissa - 03/29/2010 - 21:32
my brother daughter is 4 months old and is always crying and pinting hand on ears and shown to down as per him some bacteria may there is there any solution for same
#2 - satpal singhj - 06/07/2011 - 22:51
Good Afternoon
My daughter is 9 years old and she has frequently ear aches and she is complaining she cant hear.
#3 - Alejandra - 05/07/2018 - 14:15
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