Jan 22, 2011
ENT problems are among the most common problems we encounter in our daily life. Many times we tend to neglect the symptoms or try self medication. Not always, will this be successful. We should look for the warning signs which require intervention by the concerned specialist doctor. If appropriate care is not taken ear problems can make one's life really miserable.
This article is aimed at discussing 'how to recognize symptoms of an ear infection'. Things here have been put in a nutshell, making it very much simplified, trying to cover most of the ear problems and at the same time emphasizing on emergencies also.
Ear blockage for more than 3-4 days following an attack of cold, associated with or without pain and discharge from the ear warrants a thorough check-up with an immediate intervention. Long term ear discharge which might be profuse or scanty in amount, foul-smelling or non foul-smelling associated with or without hearing loss can be chronic suppurative otitis media which requires surgical intervention. If delayed, it can lead to life threatening complications.
In cases of sudden deafness which can be unilateral or bilateral without any history of ear disease, one should suspect damage to auditory nerve. This can sometimes be self-limiting or it can cause permanent sensori-neural deafness. Acoustic Neuroma is an intracranial tumor with symptoms of progressive hearing loss over a period of a year or two, associated with dizziness and ringing sensation in the ear (tinnitus). Hearing loss during second or third decade in females, otosclerosis has to be ruled out.
Likewise, there are many other symptoms which can hint towards ear pathology. Deviation of mouth to one side with drooling of saliva, dizziness associated with hearing loss and vomiting, dizziness on getting up from the bed or rolling over on the bed are few of them which requires consultation with an otologist.
Symptoms which require urgent interventions are acute ear pain, sudden deafness, fleshy growth in the ear canal, deviation of mouth on one side, foul-smelling discharge from the ear with or without blood and pulsatile ringing sensation in the ear.
Ear symptoms can present solely as mentioned above or they can be associated with problems of the nose and neck also. Some growths in the neck can press over the nerves which may present as earache only without any neck symptoms.
This is a small attempt made in this article to throw some light on the ear symptoms which require attention. When intervened in the early stages, major catastrophes can be prevented.