Is Your Ear Bugging You?
Ear infections are pretty standard, especially during childhood. However, chronic ear infections can happen well into adulthood. Most ear infections clear up with prescribed antibiotics. However, reoccurring ear infections can cause hearing problems and other complications. Many opt for surgery, known as a myringotomy, to reduce the pain and inconvenience of recurring infections.
All about ear infections
Ear infections start from the middle ear, known as otitis media. Chronic otitis media with effusion happens when fluid and pus stays in the ear or constantly return. Signs of ear infections include earache, a feeling of fullness in the ear, impaired hearing, and leaking fluid. The infection usually stems from the flu bug and moves to the ears through the eustachian tubes. These tubes connect to the sinus and throat and control the air pressure in the ear. An infection can irritate the inner ear tubes and cause swelling when fluid builds up against the eardrum.
Time for myringotomy surgery
An ear, nose, and throat doctor may sometimes suggest a myringotomy procedure. The middle ear surgical procedure alleviates earache and bacterial infections of the ear. Under anesthesia, a tiny microscope inserted in the ear provides the doctor with a better view. The doctor then punctures the eardrum to allow fluid drainage through suction. Typically blood, pus, or water, runs out of the ear. A tympanostomy drainage tube goes into the hole in the eardrum, ending the procedure.
Recovering from surgery
The fluid should continue to run out of the ear in the days after surgery. However, stitches are required to help the incision close and heal properly. Drainage lasts 2-3 days, and the tube falls out between 6-18 months, although some drainage tubes need surgical removal. The eardrum typically heals during this time, and minor scarring may occur. Myringotomy surgery is often the preferred choice for successful results and should be considered for these 3 reasons.
1. Myringotomy surgery can help with hearing
Myringotomy Surgery can restore hearing loss caused by chronic fluid build-up due to ear infection. Placing tympanostomy tubes help regulate pressure and ventilate the middle ear. If chronic conditions reduce the quality of hearing, doctors will commonly suggest surgery.
2. It’s excellent when non-surgical treatment fails
Ear infections respond well to non-surgical treatment. An ENT will often prescribe pain medication and antibiotics. Together, these medications treat inflammation and viruses causing ear pain. If these fail to bring relief, or the infection constantly returns, surgery can help.
3. Surgery may help prevent future infections
An ENT can go the extra step to prevent recurring ear infections and the collection of fluid behind the eardrum. After surgery, the doctor may take sample fluid from the middle ear to examine in a lab, and the lab can pinpoint the exact bacteria present in the ear. From there, antibiotic treatment after surgery may prevent chronic infections.
Review ear pain with myringotomy
Ear infections typically come and go, but having a lingering ear infection is cause for concern. While surgery is the last resort, the risk of having a hearing impairment isn’t something to leave to chance. Luckily, the surgery has a high success rate. Contact an ENT if ear infections continually impact the quality of hearing and life.