Common Causes of Ear Infections in Adults

Ear infections are not very common in adults. They are more common in young children. However, adults are still able to develop ear infections, and they can be more serious. The symptoms should be closely monitored. There are different causes for ear infections in adults, so East Texas Sinus wants to help you recognize what could cause ear infections and their symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms?

Ear infections can occur in multiple areas of the ear. There is the inner, middle, and outer ear. The infection is most common in the middle and outer regions. Inner ear infections are less frequent and usually mean there is an underlying condition. The most common ear infection symptoms include:

  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Hearing changes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swelling

If there is ever discharge coming from your ear, this is a sign of a different, more severe condition, and you should contact a doctor immediately. You might experience drowsiness and a feeling of your ears being plugged or underwater if you have a middle ear infection. A rash or red and warm skin are common symptoms of an outer ear infection.

What Causes of Ear Infections in Adults?

The infection is usually caused by germs like a virus, bacteria, or fungus. The way someone becomes infected will determine the kind of disease they get. Those with diabetes are more at risk for ear infections. Other causes or risks include chronic skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema.

Middle ear infections come from upper respiratory sicknesses like sinus or throat infections. The common cold, flu, and allergies can also cause middle ear infections. Those who smoke or are around smoke often are at risk for these infections as well.

Outer ear infections are caused by something called swimmer’s ear. This is when water sits in the ear and fosters an environment for germs. This is most common for people who spend a lot of time in the water.

When Should I See a Longview, TX ENT Doctor?

Usually, adult ear infections resolve on their own. A minor earache is not something to worry about. If your symptoms last for more than three days or you experience fever or loss of balanced, you should schedule a doctor’s appointment. Any discharge that appears would also warrant a call to your doctor.

What Kind of Treatments are There for Ear Infections?

Your doctor might prescribe medications like antibiotics to relieve symptoms and kill the germs. Over-the-counter medications are common treatments as well. You could also use at-home remedies like eardrops. A warm compress helps relieve pressure in the ear, so that is a good at-home treatment option as well.

If you have other questions regarding ear infections or other ENT concerns, call the East Texas Sinus & Dizziness center! Our expert ENT doctors in Longview, Texas will do their best to figure out the cause of your earache and form the right treatment plan for you. Set up an appointment today.