How to Treat Recurring Ear Infections?

Chronic Ear Infection?

Chronic ear infections never heal. Recurring ear infections can be chronic. Also known as Recurrent acute otitis media. Infection affects the middle ear.

Plugged eustachian tubes can cause infections. The eardrum hurts from middle ear fluid buildup. Rapid infection or untreated infection might burst the eardrum. Children's smaller, horizontal Eustachian tubes are easier to seal. Children get more ear infections because of this.

Chronic Ear Infection Symptoms?

Chronic ear infections tend to have lesser symptoms. Ear symptoms may be chronic or intermittent. Chronic ear infections cause −

  • Ear pressure

  • Mild earache

  • Ear discharge

  • Low fever

  • Hearing loss

  • Problem sleeping

Ear infections can make a baby fussier, especially while lying down. Your baby's eating and sleeping patterns may alter. Infants with chronic ear infections may pull on their ears. Teething or body exploring may induce this.

Doctor's Appointment

See a doctor if you or your kid has acute ear infection symptoms include pain, fever, and hearing loss. Treating acute ear infections quickly helps avoid chronic ones.

Also see your doctor if −

  • Your acute ear infection isn't responding to doctor-recommended medication.

  • You have an acute ear infection and develop new or worsening symptoms.

  • Recurrent ear infections in your child

Treatment Options

Chronic ear infections need treatment. Home remedies can assist. Home remedies −

  • Using a hot or cold towel to the discomfort

  • Numbing eardrops

  • Acetaminophen or other over-the-counter painkillers

  • NSAIDs like ibuprofen


Doctors administer medications for chronic ear infections. These can be taken orally or (rarely) intravenously. If your eardrum perforates, your doctor may recommend ear drops. If your eardrum is perforated, some ear drops are unsafe. Your doctor may recommend antibiotic ear drops or diluted vinegar.


Chronic ear infections that cause hearing loss may require surgery. Children with hearing issues often struggle. Hearing issues can affect speech and language development.

Your doctor may surgically join the middle and outer ears with a tiny tube through the eardrum. Ear tubes remove middle ear fluid, reducing infections and symptoms. Both ears get tubes. This is a bilateral tympanostomy.

A surgeon will myringotomy the eardrum for this surgery. A tiny tube will be placed through the opening after suctioning the ear. After six to 18 months, tubes fall out on their own. If the tubes don't come out, you may need surgery.

Infection may necessitate other surgeries. Small middle ear bones might become infected. Repairing or replacing them may need surgery. Chronic ear infections destroy the eardrum. Repairing the eardrum may need surgery.

The mastoid bone behind the ear can occasionally become infected. If the mastoid bone is infected, surgery is needed. Mastoidectomy is this.

Untreated Symptoms Effects?

Untreated persistent ear infections can create several issues. Possible issues −

  • Hearing loss

  • Middle-ear bone injury

  • Mastoid bone infection

  • Ear balance damage

  • Eardrum leakage

  • Tympanosclerosis—ear tissue stiffening

  • Middle-ear cyst cholesteatoma

  • Face paralysis

  • Brain inflammation

Preventive Measures

There are several ways to lower your and your child's risk of chronic ear infections. Talk to your doctor about acute ear infections to prevent them from becoming chronic.

Maintaining influenza, pneumonia, and meningitis immunizations is crucial. According to the CDC, pneumococcal bacteria, which can cause pneumonia and meningitis, cause half of middle ear infections.

Other ear infection prevention tips −

  • Quitting and avoiding secondhand smoke

  • Breastfeeding newborns

  • Frequent hand washing

Ear Infection Hearing Loss: How Long?

Middle ear infections cause temporary hearing loss. The middle ear fluid no longer blocks sound vibrations after draining.

However, fluid can remain. Otitis media symptoms normally heal within 48 to 72 hours, but middle ear fluid might last up to three months. The trapped fluid may impair your hearing.

Ear Infection Symptoms

Ear infections hurt. Ear ache and pressure may indicate one.

However, newborns and toddlers cannot communicate their ear ache. How do you diagnose your child's ear infection?

Early indications of ear infections in children include −

  • Body language. Avoid your child pulling on their ear. Possibly ear ache.

  • Fever. Fever indicates infection fighting.

  • Ear drainage. Ear infections often produce pus or fluid. Ruptured eardrums cause yellow or crimson fluid.

  • Hearing issues. Middle ear fluid might temporarily impair hearing.

  • Unsteadiness. Your youngster may become unsteady or dizzy from ear fluid.

  • Uncomfortable lying down. Lying down changes middle ear pressure.

  • Diarrhea. Ear infections can cause diarrhea and vomiting in children.

These symptoms may indicate an ear infection in older children and adults.

Ear Infection Home Remedies

Try these home remedies for a mild ear infection −

  • Pain killers. Over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen can relieve pain and fever.

  • Compresses. This approach is safe for children and adults. Alternating them may improve your mood.

  • Sleeping posture shift. For nighttime ear drainage, try extra cushions under your head.

  • Distraction. Try distracting your cranky toddler from their ear pain. A favorite toy, snack, or game may work.


Ear infections can damage hearing. Due to eardrum irritation and fluid buildup. Ear infections cause temporary hearing loss. Your hearing may improve when the ear infection clears.

Sometimes the fluid stays in the middle ear for weeks or months. The trapped fluid may impair hearing.

If your hearing doesn't improve after your ear infection, see a doctor to rule out other causes.

Updated on: 05-May-2023


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