Ear infections are the most common reason of fluid in the ear.
Ear infections can be viral, bacterial, or a mix of both.
Infections are very common in children. Ear infections cause the lining of the inner ear (or eardrum) to swell, which can trap fluid inside the ear, producing a bulging eardrum on an X-ray. Sometimes the fluids cannot escape laterally, and begin running down into the middle ear where it causes more problems.
Because of the structure of their auditory tubes, children are more likely to have fluid in their ears – they are shorter and more horizontal. This form encourages fluid to accumulate behind the eardrum by creating a space for it to build up.
How Common Does Fluid Get Into Our Ears?
Take this example: when one gets a common cold or sinus infection, our body will start to produce fluid to combat the cold (that is also why you will experience congested noses).
The mucous-like liquid, which drains from the nose, will also be produced by our body to wash away the germs.
Similarly, when there is a pathogen causing an infection in the ear canal, the lining of our middle ear will produce a ear discharge to wash away pathogen.
When the infection gets cleared up, the fluid will then be drained out by the eustachian tube into the back of the nose.
However, if the eustachian tube does not function efficiently or is inflamed, fluid will accumulate in the middle ear cavity.
Why Shouldn’t Middle Ear Fluid Be Left Alone In Our Ears?
The reason is that the middle ear’s three inner hearing bones (ossicles) were designed to function in an airy atmosphere.
When the eardrum is vibrated by sound vibrations, so are the hearing bones.
The hearing bones are unable to vibrate effectively in fluids, resulting in deafness.
When fluid stagnates in the middle ear for a long time, it becomes more difficult for the fluid to drain on its own, resulting in continued hearing loss.
In addition, middle ear fluid that has gathered in the ear canal may damage hearing bones over time.
Fluid In The Middle Ear – Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
Middle ear infection is also known as serous otitis media.
If you have ever had a middle ear infection before, you probably experienced intense pain and possibly pus-filled ear fluid.
In most situations, middle ear infection (otitis media) symptoms appear swiftly and go away in a few days. Acute otitis media refers to an infection that lasts for a short time. Fever, earache, feeling of fatigue, and mild hearing loss are the primary symptoms of this disease.
In more severe circumstances, you may have a ruptured eardrum (tympanic membrane perforation). A perforated eardrum is an opening or a tear in the delicate tissue that separates the ear canal from the middle ear.
What Should I Do – If Fluid Gets Trapped In My Ears?
Simply go to your GP doctor.
To treat the fluid in your ear, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medications to help flush it out. The good news is that the fluid generally drains out once the antibiotic begins to operate, and the germs die off.
If your doctor orders an antibiotic, finish the entire course of treatment.
Note that antibiotics should not be consumed routinely. The excessive use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance. However, healthcare providers may prescribe them if symptoms persist for more than a few days or are particularly acute on rare occasions.
If these drugs don’t work, however, surgical fluid drainage may be required.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Fluid In Your Ear?
The easiest approach to detect ear fluid in the ear canal to examine the ear with an otoscope. This is a quick and straightforward procedure that entails pulling back the ear and inserting the otoscope’s tip into the ear. The healthcare provider can see the eardrum (tympanic membrane) using an otoscope (otoscopic instrument for examining ears).
Unfortunately, determining if there is fluid behind the eardrum is not simple, and sometimes the only telltale sign of fluid in the ear might be a little retracting or discoloring of the eardrum.
Tympanometry is another procedure that doctors can employ to look for ear fluid.
The eardrum’s functioning is visualized through a tympanogram, which is a picture of the ear’s inner workings in response to changes in air pressure within the ear canal.When sound waves strike the eardrum, part of the sound is absorbed, which is then transported to the middle ear. The remainder of the sound is reflected. The doctor can then evaluate middle ear activities based on this information from the tympanogram results.
Other Causes – Behind Clogged Ears?
(1) Impacted Ears / Earwax
Earwax buildup can cause your ears to feel clogged. If you believe you have impacted ears, you may consider using over-the-counter ear drops. However, if the earwax is trapped deep in your ear canal and does not emerge after a few days, see a doctor immediately.
(2) Hearing Loss
Some individuals who have suffered from hearing loss report having a blocked ear. If you are suffering from hearing loss without an apparent cause, it is advised that you obtain a hearing test from an expert audiologist.
COVID-19 is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory system, including the ears. Upper respiratory infections, such as COVID-19, frequently result in fluid accumulation in the ears. If you suspect you’ve been infected with COVID-19, get tested to confirm it.