Ear fluid is an accumulation of liquid found behind the eardrums. When this fluid stays in the ear for too long, it can lead to an ear infection. The fluids in the auditory tubes become clogged and trapped in the middle ear. Anyone can get fluid in their ears, but children are more susceptible to ear infections caused by fluid because of the way their auditory tubes are formed. Adults have larger and more angular auditory tubes that make it harder for fluid to build up in the ears. Ear infections caused by fluid buildup can be chronic or acute.
There are many causes for why fluid might build up in the ears. Congestion caused by a cold virus or infection is a major contributor to ear fluid buildup. The nasal drip stays around the ear region and has no place to go because the tonsils and sinus tissue become severely inflamed and swollen. Allergies and cigarette smoke can cause fluid buildup as well. Individuals who have damaged auditory tubes due to past surgeries or radiation exposure for head and neck cancer treatment are prone to fluid buildup. People who feel like their ears are plugged up and have trouble hearing may have fluid in their ears. Those who have a feeling of fullness in their ears may also have excess ear fluid. Tinnitus, the condition where there is ringing in the ears, is another common symptom of ear fluid accumulation. If an individual experiences ear pain, dizziness, or are unable to pop their ears when air pressure changes, fluid may be residing in the auditory tubes.
There are many ways to treat the symptoms caused by ear fluid. Often, ear fluid will go away on its own. When the fluid stays in the ear for too long it can lead to infection. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the ear fluid infection is caused by bacteria. Heating compression pads may also help to alleviate pain in the ears caused by excessive fluid. If fluid retention is a chronic problem, drainage is an ideal solution to prevent potential ear infections.
Get In Touch with Us for More Information
To learn more about how ear fluid can lead to an ear infection, we warmly invite you to make an appointment with Regional ENT Associates. At our convenient locations in Gallatin and Lebanon, our caring and dedicated team of professionals will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you.