How common is the common cold? So common that it’s the most frequently diagnosed illness in children in the United States. And the runner up, with three-out-of-four children suffering from these in their first three years, are ear infections.
Ear infections often begin as the result of fluid trapped in the middle ear after a cold. Acute ear infections are painful due to inflammation and fluid build-up, but thankfully, are short-lived if treated quickly. Symptoms of ear infections include increased fussiness in babies, fever, fluid draining from the affected ear, an unpleasant odor from the ear and trouble eating or sleeping due to increased pressure and pain when sucking or lying down. Contact your pediatrician at the first signs of an ear infection in your infant or child. After an exam, antibiotics may be prescribed. Until then, over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and reduce fever may be given.
Chronic, or reoccurring, ear infections are the result of an infection that doesn’t clear up. Because it lingers, the infection flares, is prolonged and repeats. Reoccurring ear infections are painful and go on to affect nearly half of the children who contract their first ear infection. The threat of this chronic problem is that it can inflict permanent damage to the inner ear and result in hearing loss.
Repeated ear infections in infants, toddlers and young children are capable of causing hearing loss that interferes with speech development and the understanding of language. Undiagnosed or untreated ear infections can damage the ear drum and inflict a permanent hearing impairment.
No child is too young for a hearing test. If your child struggles with ear infections, contact Blount Hearing and Speech Services today. With specialized testing and procedures for children in all stages of development, we work with you to protect your child’s hearing now. Call 865-982-8557 today for more information or to schedule an appointment.