How Do I Know If I Have an Ear Infection?

While ear infections are generally more common among children, they can still occur among adults. If you do happen to get one as an adult, they’re typically signs of a greater concern.

If you haven’t ever had an ear infection before, how are you supposed to know if you have one? And if you do get one, what’s the best treatment? Our AFC Urgent Care Athens, TN team answers those questions and more below, so read on.

What Is an Ear Infection?

While there are technically three different types of ear infections (inner, middle and outer), a common ear infection occurs when a bacterial or viral infection affects the middle ear—the sections of the ear just behind the eardrum.

The cause of an ear infection has to do with the eustachian tubes, which are small tubes that run from each ear directly to the back of the throat. When an ear infection occurs, the eustachian tubes become swollen or blocked, causing fluid to build up in the middle ear.

Common Causes of Eustachian Tube Blockage

  • Allergies
  • Colds
  • Sinus infections
  • Excess mucus
  • Smoking
  • Infected or swollen adenoids (tissue near your tonsils that traps harmful bacteria and viruses)
  • Changes in air pressure

What Is the Best Treatment for an Ear Infection?

The type of ear infection will impact the type of treatment, but for most common ear infections, doctor-prescribed antibiotics do the trick. To help with pain, over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can work as well.

If you experience any of the symptoms that we’ve listed below, you likely have an ear infection. We encourage you to visit our AFC center to get treated quickly in order to avoid long-term health complications that ear infections can cause, such as hearing loss and ruptured eardrums.

Common Symptoms of Ear Infections

  • Mild pain or discomfort inside the ear
  • A feeling of pressure inside the ear that persists
  • Pus-like ear drainage
  • Hearing loss

If you believe you or your child has an ear infection, don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Athens, TN team today! We’re here for you now and always.