Types of Ear Infections

Otitis Externa

Otitis externa refers to infection of the external ear, most commonly the ear canal. Otitis externa is usually not a dangerous condition but can be quite painful in the height of infection. There are some situations where otitis externa can become dangerous, for example in a patient with uncontrolled diabetes, and thus must be taken seriously. In addition to pain, otitis externa causes foul-smelling ear drainage, sensation of ear fullness and possibly hearing loss. It often begins after swimming or trauma to the ear canal such as with Q-tips. Treatment includes ear debridement and antibiotic ear drops. Oral antibiotics are only rarely necessary for this condition.

Otitis Media

Otitis media refers to infection of the middle ear cavity. Otitis media is more frequently seen in children but can occur in adults as well. Otitis media refers to fluid filling the middle ear space. This fluid can be infected, as in acute otitis media, or not. In either case this fluid will be associated with hearing loss and ear fullness. If infected, there can also be significant pain, fever, and possible ear drainage if the ear drum perforates, allowing the fluid to drain into the ear canal. Treatment depends on the correct diagnosis, patient age and symptom severity. Our experts will be happy to go through all of this with you.

Inner Ear Infection

Infection of the inner ear is rare. It can be associated with hearing loss and/or vertigo and may or may not be reversible depending on the cause. It is important that our experts evaluate patients with a possible inner ear infection rapidly.