Middle ear infection, also known as otitis media, is an infection that affects the part of the ear behind the eardrum. These infections are usually caused by bacteria or viruses. In most cases, middle ear infection occurs during or soon after another infection in the upper respiratory tract like a cold or flu. It may also arise as a result of an allergic reaction.
Otitis media is more common in infants and children. This can be attributed to the underdeveloped Eustachian tubes in these children and exposure to more pathogens once the children start feeding on other foods beside breast milk or formula. However, middle ear infections also affect older children and adults. If otitis media does not clear soon, and it is not treated in time, it can lead to complications like long-term loss of hearing. Following are 10 middle ear infection symptoms.
Middle Ear Infection Symptom #1: Ear Pain
Ear pain is a common middle ear infection symptom. The pain is caused by the inflammation within the middle ear, including the Eustachian tube. Infection or inflammation may be caused by bacteria, viruses or an allergy. This can lead to swelling and collection of fluid within the middle ear. When the inflammation affects the Eustachian tube, it causes a blockage in it.
The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the atmosphere in order to balance the pressure in the middle ear with the atmospheric pressure. Blockage of the Eustachian tube means that fluid will collect in the middle ear. This causes pressure build up within the middle ear which may cause discomfort or ear pain.