Types of Ear infection & Earache

EaranatomyOur ears are divided into three cross sections namely: outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Accordingly ear infection and ear ache can be of three types

Image courtesy: Lain

Infection of Outer ear: (ear canal infection or otitis externa): Infection of outer ear is commonly known as swimmer’s ear. This generally occurs when water, hair or a foreign object is trapped in the ear canal. It is characterized by pain in pavilion and skin surrounding outer ear. This usually affects adults. It can be very painful. If left untreated it can impair hearing and even lead to total deafness.

Infection of Middle ear (otitis media):  Middle ear infection rarely occurs independently. In most of the cases, middle ears get infected due to spread of infection from outer or the inner ear. Middle ear infection also occurs due to sudden changes in eardrum pressure caused during flight or due to passing of train through tunnel.

Infection of Inner ear: (otitis interna): Infection of inner ear is most commonly associated with respiratory infections. This infection is more common amongst children, because their respiratory tract and Eustachian tubes are less immune to infections. Infection of inner ear results in formation of pus. This puts pressure on the eardrum, causing pain. If left untreated, this infection can even rupture eardrum.