What is the Source of Ear Infections in Seniors?
Ear infections in seniors come from a variety of causes. Ear infections in seniors can go sometimes away by themselves. However, a course of treatment is usually required.
Some seniors like using home remedies and other cures to manage their symptoms. Usually however, conventional medical intervention is required. Since home remedies and cures for ear infections complement regular medical care, a person can do both simultaneously.
Different Types of Infection
Obviously, only a physician can diagnose what type of infection a person has, its cause and cure.
Here are some general descriptions from Healthline:
- Inner ear infection – Infection in the inner ear is less frequent. It is usually a sign of some other health issue. There might be inflammation without infection.
- Middle ear infection – Infection comes about from fluid which is trapped behind the eardrum. It might be caused by having a cold or respiratory infection. The eustachian (yoo-sta-shun) tubes located in each ear, are connected to the nose and the throat, so it is possible for infection to spread that way.
- Outer ear infection, also known as Swimmers Ear – 1. Infection can begin from water that remains in the ear after swimming or bathing. 2. A bacterial infection could occur if a person irritates the lining of the outer ear. This could happen from putting a finger or cotton bud, or another object into the ear.
Different Types of Cures
There are different cures depending on the type of the infection. A doctor would advise as to use of one or more cures.
For middle ear infection:
- Oral antibiotics in tablet, capsule or syrup format
- Antibiotics in drops to be applied topically
- Over-the-counter and other pain-relief medicines
- Decongestant, if the ear infection is accompanied by a cold
- Auto-insufflation – This means:
- “auto” – a person does this themselves
- “insufflation” – blowing or breathing into something
- Put it together and this is what you get: Squeeze the nose closed, close the mouth and very gently try to blow out. As the eustachian tubes fill with air, the trapped water can drain out, allowing the infection to heal.
For outer ear infection:
- A doctor might instruct the patient to carefully clean the ear.
- A cream or drops to get rid of microbes might be prescribed
- Anti-inflammatory medicine is another option
- Antibiotics in topical or oral format
- If the cause is viral – the patient needs to wait it out and manage the symptoms
The Importance of Treating Ear Infections in Seniors
Ear infections in adults and seniors should not be ignored. In young children, an ear infection rarely has serious consequences, but in seniors it can cause damage to the hearing.
Additionally, an ear infection in a senior could spread to another part of the body, if not treated.
A doctor should be consulted in order to:
- Relieve the painful symptoms
- Treat the infection effectively
- Find out how to prevent re-occurrence of the infection.
The Parts of the Ear
The ear is a delicate part of the human body. It is sensitive, so a person has to take care with their ears.
Apart from being responsible for hearing, the ear helps a person keep their balance.
The main parts of the ear are:
- The Outer Ear – Its main function is to receive sound waves.
- The Middle Ear – Its main function is to allow vibrations of sound in the ear drum.
- The Inner Ear – This chamber contains fluid; it sends electrical signals to the brain.
There are other parts of the ear: the hairs, and the three tiniest bones in the body, the ossicles. These ossicles are: the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup. Each part of the ear has a job to play, in the complex process of a person hearing sound.
Looking After the Ears
It is important to look after the ear.
- avoiding poking and prodding in the ear
- gentle cleaning
- prevent damage to the hearing when it is noisy
Take care when a person has an ear infection. Notice if the symptoms are improving or getting worse.
A person should go back to the doctor if they are not feeling better.
Don’t ignore ear infections in seniors. Taking care of an ear infection can prevent it from developing into something more serious and protect a person’s hearing.
Photo by Simon John-McHaffie on Unsplash