Ear Infection Basics

The symptoms of ear infections can become very challenging for the sufferer, and young children in particular have a greater tendency to get earaches.  While most ear pain resolves itself in a matter of days, you should get a physical examination to understand the type of infection, prevent it from spreading and obtain treatment to help alleviate the pain.

3 Types of Ear Infections

The ear is made up of three sections: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Each of these areas is susceptible to infections, which can be painful.

Outer Ear Infection (Otitis Externa)


Also known as Swimmer’s Ear, outer ear infections result from an inflammation, often bacterial, in the outer ear. Generally, they happen when water, sand or dirt gets into the ear canal. Moisture in the air or swimming makes the ear more susceptible to this type of ear infection.


  • severe pain
  • itching
  • redness and swelling in the outer ear

There also may be some fluid drainage. Often the pain is worse when chewing or when you pull on the ear.

Complications from untreated Outer Ear Infection may include hearing loss, recurring ear infections, and bone and cartilage damage.


Typically, your doctor will prescribe ear drops that block bacterial growth. In more severe cases, your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic and pain medication. Most outer ear infections resolve in seven to 10 days.

Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)


Middle ear infections can be caused by either bacterial or viral infection. These infections may be triggered by airborne or foodborne allergies, infections elsewhere in the body, nutritional deficiencies or a blocked Eustachian tube.


In chronic cases, a thick, glue-like fluid may be discharged from the middle ear.


Treatment is contingent on the cause of the infection and ranges from analgesic eardrops, medications to the surgical insertion of a tube to drain fluid from the middle ear or an adenoidectomy.

Inner Ear Infection (Otitis Interna)


Also known as labyrinthitis, inner ear infections are most commonly caused by other infections in the body, particularly sinus, throat or tooth infections.


  • dizziness
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • hearing loss
  • tinnitus


Always seek medical attention if you think you may have an inner ear infection.  Contact us and we can discuss your options.

Are Ear Infections Affecting Your Quality of Life?

When you’re unable to hear, or you’ve got pain in your ear, day-to-day activities are difficult to manage.  When an ear infection is left untreated, long term issues arise, which have a greater impact on your well-being.

Since ear infections are common in children, the experience can be challenging for everyone in the family.  Getting the right care for an ear infection is crucial.

Find Relief by Choosing the Expert in Ear Infection Treatments

Houston Sinus and Allergy has over a decade of experience in treating ear infections. We use the latest technology and vast experience to reduce pain and prevent other long-term effects caused by ear infections. Dr. Nguyen is a national expert, and our practice has won numerous awards, including being voted the Living Best of Reader’s Choice Award in 2015.

If you suspect you or your child may have an ear infection, please contact our office by calling (832) 237-7777 or fill out the form at the top of our page to book an assessment.

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