Otitis: what is it?

Otitis: a common ear infection

Otitis is often referred to as the inflammation of the ear and there are different forms of Otitis depending on where it occurs in and around the ear. 

Otitis is an inflammation of the ear that usually affects children between 6 months and 3 years but may also affect adults. It can also be common in people who clean their ears too often, preventing earwax from protecting their ears from bacteria that can grow there. When ear infections are not well treated, they can cause hearing loss or even total deafness in the most severe cases.

Otitis symptoms and treatments

Otitis is manifested by ear pain, redness and swelling of the ear canal, and repeated itching in the ear.

How to treat otitis? Before any treatment of otitis, it is necessary to first identify the causes and the form of otitis. The treatment of ear infections is adapted according to the age of the person affected. Patients are usually put on antibiotic treatment. Surgery may be recommended to remove fluid from the middle ear. If in doubt, we advise you to consult your GP or ENT.

Types of Otitis

Otitis externa

Otitis externa is manifested by severe ear pain due to the presence of bacteria in the ear canal. It especially affects bathers since their ears are frequently exposed to moisture and germs present in the water. Otitis externa can cause fever and intense ear pain: this is called focal otitis externa. Otitis externa is called severe when it causes narrowing of the ear canal followed by suppuration inside the ears and fever.

Acute otitis media

Acute otitis media is an infection in the middle ear caused by the presence of a bacterium or a virus. While acute otitis media can affect people of all ages, it affects mainly young children. It is often preceded by nasopharyngitis and leads to decreased hearing, ear pain and fever. In case of superinfection of the ears, otitis can be manifested by a flow if the eardrum is perforated or bulging.

Internal otitis or labyrinthitis

Internal otitis or labyrinthitis is a very rare form of ear infection that can cause a significant loss of hearing. Affecting the cochlea and the vestibule, it is manifested by a gradual degradation of hearing, nausea and vertigo. Internal otitis can occur as a result of middle ear surgery that has caused a bacterial infection or more conventional infections such as nasopharyngitis.

How can you prevent otitis?

There are simple daily actions to prevent ear infections:

  • Avoid high temperatures and humidity in rooms in your home
  • Dry your ears after a shower or bath and protect them in the winter when you go out
  • Take care to dispose of used tissues and wash your hands thoroughly after coughing or sneezing.
  • Do not stay in contact with sick people for too long, otitis is indeed a contagious disease.
  • Take good care of illnesses like colds or nasopharyngitis.
  • Request an appointment with your doctor or an ENT physician if you identify any symptoms suggestive of ear infections.
  • If you have been subject to ear infections in your childhood or even recently and if you have a doubt about their impact on your hearing, you can make an appointment at an Amplifon hearing clinic. Our experts of the hearing, will be able to bring you advices and to carry out a complimentary auditive assessment. This will allow you to take stock of your hearing

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