Etiology: Inflammation of the ear, differentiated as outer ear (Otitis Externa), middle ear (Otitis Media), and inner ear (Otitis Interna). About 95% of all children have had ear infections by the age of six. If persistent, ear infections may lead to eardrum damage and eventual loss of hearing. Pressure on sensitive nerves causes pain. See your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Pressure changes, (usually pilots and divers have this problem), boils in the ear, fungus, parasites, or bacteria. One bacterium (Branhamell catarrahalis (B-cat) is resistant to standard antibiotics, but a new antibiotic (Augmentin) can be used for this bacterium. See the doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Outer ear inflammation is the most common (swimmers ear). The ear canal from the eardrum to the outside becomes inflamed and swollen. Symptoms include: slight fever, discharge from the ear, pain that worsens when the earlobe is touched or pulled, and temporary loss of hearing in that ear.
If there are symptoms of dizziness, ringing in the ears, bleeding or a bloody discharge, sudden pain, and hearing loss in one or both ears, see the doctor immediately. These symptoms could indicate a ruptured eardrum. Don't blow your nose while you have an ear infection, and keep the ear canal dry. Put cotton in the ear canal when showering or bathing. Don't swim or go out in the rain.
Causes of a ruptured eardrum are sudden inward pressure to the ear from swimming, diving, a slap, a nearby explosion, or a sudden high pressured kiss over the ear. A ruptured eardrum is most often caused by a severe middle ear infection.
Middle ear infections are very common in infants and children. The site of the infection is behind the eardrum where the small bones of the ear are located. Symptoms include: earache, fullness and pressure in the ear, and a high fever of 103 degrees F or higher. Children often pull at their ears in an attempt to relieve the pressure. High altitudes and cold climates increase the risk of this infection. Decompression in air travel commonly triggers the infection.
Avoid unsanitary conditions. This type of ear infection may be caused from a lowered resistance due to a recent illness. Nonprescription ear drops may relieve the pain. A nasal spray may help open up the Eustachian tube (this drains the middle ear to the back of the throat) and relieve the pressure. However, antibiotics may still be needed. See the doctor.
The following doses are for adults, reduce for children:
Manganese, 10 mg. per day (a deficiency has been linked to ear disorders).
Vitamin A, 50,000 IU, aids in controlling the infection (1 tsp. cod liver oil for children).
Vitamin E, 600 IU, aids in controlling the infection (for children, omit the vitamin E).
Vitamin C, 3,000-7,000 mg. daily in divided doses.
Zinc lozenges, 10 mg. 3 times daily for 5 days, then take in pill form once per day, quickens immune response and aids in reducing infection.
Vitamin B complex, 50 mg. 3 times per day, is essential for healing and immune function. Relieves ear pressure.
Surgical drainage of the affected ear and antibiotics may be needed. See the doctor.
For ringing in the ears, mix 1 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of glycerin (from the drugstore) in 1 pint of warm water. Use a nasal spray bottle to spray each nostril with the solution until it begins to drain in the back of the throat. Also spray the throat. Do this several times a day.
To alleviate pain, use a little warm olive oil or garlic oil in the ear, then a drop or two of lobelia tincture.
Swimmers ear can be averted by using 100 proof alcohol as drops in each ear after swimming. This kills bacteria and evaporates to dry the ear in case water is trapped in the ear. Do this each time you swim and swimmers ear is a thing of the past for you.
Children who have frequent ear infections should have a food allergy test.
Ear problems seem to be more prevalent in the homes of smokers.