Understanding the basics of Ear Infection

Ear infection is the sensation of pain, sore, irritation, rash in inner, middle or outer ear. This often occurs due to the bacterial or viral infection. Ear infection can be painful due to inflammation and build-up of fluid in the ear. Ear infections can be acute or chronic. Acute ear infection is of short duration but it’s painful. Chronic ear infection either do not clear up with time or is recurring i.e. it reappears again & again when treated. So, Chronic ear infection can cause permanent damage to the ear(inner & middle ear).

How to Diagnose Ear Infection?

Doctors use an instrument called pneumatic otoscope which is a specialized tool for the diagnosis of Ear infection. With the use of this instrument, doctor look into the ear to examine whether there is fluid behind the eardrum. The examination may reveal –

  • a bulging or collapsed eardrum
  • a perforation in the eardrum
  • fluid draining from the middle ear
  • redness, air bubbles, or pus-like fluid inside the middle ear

If your doctor found your ear infection to be advanced, he may take fluid inside your ear to analyze which types of bacteria have infected the ear.

Symptoms of Ear infection

In children

  • Ear ache
  • Ear drainage
  • Trouble hearing or sleeping
  • Ear tugging
  • Diarrhea
  • Being clingy
  • Crying more than usual
  • Fluid from ear
  • Crying at night when lying down
  • Fever


In adults

  • Muffled hearing
  • Tinnitus
  • Ear drainage
  • Sharp sudden pain or continuous pain
  • Nausea
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Dizziness

Ear infection types

Most common types of ear infections are :

Otitis media (Middle ear infection)

This is the common type of ear infection in which middle ear is affected with the infection. It often affects babies and kids. Treatment for this type of infection is based on age and variations of symptoms in patient.


  • Fluid or pus in the middle ear
  • Ear pain
  • Redness of the eardrum
  • Trouble in hearing
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Fever
  • Sore throat

Impacts of Otitis media on an individual:

  • Permanent hearing loss
  • Infection in other parts of the head
  • Paralysis of a nerve in your face

Treatment for Otitis media:

  • Medications for pain
  • Antibiotics
  • Ear drops
  • Decongestants, antihistamines, or nasal steroids

Otitis media with effusion (OME)

It is also called as secretory otitis media. In this type of ear infection, fluid is present in middle ear and swelling develops in inner ear. It happens as a result of sore throat, cold, or an upper respiratory infection. It tends to occur in kids aged between 6 months and 3 years. In case fluid does not drain out from ear on its own, a patient is treated with the antibiotics. It goes away in 4-5 weeks on its own.


  • Mild hearing loss
  • Feeling of ear full with fluid
  • Muffled hearing

Impacts of Otitis media with effusion (OME) in an individual:

  • Cholesteatoma (cysts in the middle ear)
  • Eardrum scarring
  • Language delay or affected speech
  • Damage to ears causing hearing loss

Treatment of Otitis media with effusion:

  • Use of ear tubes which helps in drainage of fluid from behind the ear.
  • Sometimes when adenoids become enlarged, they block ear drainage. So, removal of adenoids can also help in treating OME.

Otitis externa

It is also known as swimmer’s ear. This infection tends to occur in summer when children swim more frequently and their ears get moist most of the times.

Symptoms :

  • Ear pain that get worse when moving the head
  • Itching in the ear
  • Draining of smelly yellow, or yellow green pus from the ear.
  • Hearing loss
  • Swelling of ear canal.

Impacts of Otitis externa on an individual :

  • Spread to adjacent areas and causing meningitis

Treatments for Otitis externa :

  • Medications
  • Cleaning
  • Antibiotics

Home remedies for ear infection

●    Garlic oil:

 It has antimicrobial properties and natural pain relieving qualities.

  1. Take two garlic and cook it with mustard or sesame oil until it turns blackish.
  2. Wait for oil to become lukewarm. Then put 2-3 drops of oil in ear as ear drop.


●    Olive oil:

  1. Warm olive oil slightly.
  2. Put few drops in the ear. Due to this wax becomes soft and you can easily remove it.

●    Salt:

  1. Take one cup of salt in a pan and heat it for few minutes.
  2. Put the hot salt in a cloth and make a knot to close it.
  3. Lay down and put the cloth on an infected area.

●    Coconut oil:

  1. Lie down and put some drops of coconut oil in infected ear.
  2. Put cotton ball in external ear so that oil does not exit.