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Chronic Ear Infections

Ear infections usually start with a viral infection such as a cold. The middle ear lining becomes swollen from the viral infection and fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Ear infections can also be associated with blockage or swelling in the narrow passageways called eustachian tubes that connect the middle ear and the nose. When fluid gets trapped in the middle ear and the eustachian tubes become blocked during a cold, it can cause ear pain and infection.

Since children’s eustachian tubes are narrower and shorter than those of adults, they are more likely to develop ear infections than adults.

Another factor contributing to ear infections is swelling of the tissues around and near the opening of the eustachian tubes. This swelling can be caused by enlarged adenoids or by allergic rhinitis “hay fever”. .Ear infections are most common during the fall and winter. Sometimes, seasonal allergies may also trigger congestion in the sinuses or nasal passages, causing you or your child to be more likely to develop fluid behind the ear drum that can result in a middle ear infection. .

Many ear infections clear on their own after a few days with no complications. However, long lasting (chronic) or recurrent ear infections can lead to short-term hearing loss, long-term hearing loss and sinus infections.

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