Approximately five out of six children struggle with some type of ear infection before they reach age three. Ear infections are most common in children because their immune systems are still developing, but they can also happen in adults. Learn more about the causes and various types of ear infections as well as the treatments that a Cary, NC ENT at Wake Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists can provide.Causes of Ear InfectionsMuch like any infection, ear infections are caused by exposure to harmful bacteria. The ear canal is overwhelmed by bacteria, causing pain, inflammation and hearing loss in serious cases. Here are a few of the most common causes of ear infections:- Exposure to school-aged children.- Allergy symptoms.- Sinusitis and asthma.- Cold, flu and respiratory viruses.- Swimming in bacteria-infested water, like ponds or untreated pool water.- Genetics (some patients are more prone to ear infections).Types of Ear InfectionsAn ear infection is not something that should be ignored because without prompt treatment, it could affect the quality of a patient’s hearing. There are several different types of ear infections that you should be aware of if you’re prone to ear problems:- Acute Otitis Media (AOM)—caused by fluid buildup that often happens after a cold or the flu.- Otitis Media with Effusion (OME)—fluid is trapped behind the eardrum.- Acute Otitis Externa (also called “Swimmer’s Ear”)—inflammation of the outer ear.Ear Infection TreatmentsAfter an ear infection is diagnosed with a thorough exam, a treatment will be administered or prescribed by your Cary ENT that depends on the type of infection. If the patient is a very young child, a “wait and see” approach may be implemented to avoid the use of an antibiotic. If needed, you will likely receive a prescription for a topical antibiotic or ear drop that you can administer yourself at home for the prescribed number of days or weeks. In some cases, an ear tube insertion may be necessary to drain fluid from the ear and aid the healing process. An over the counter pain reliever will help ease discomfort.Get Help from an Ear SpecialistIf you have any of the symptoms of an ear infection, whether it’s persisting pain, fluid in the ear or problems hearing, make an urgent appointment with a Cary, NC ENT as soon as possible. Call Wake Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists at (919) 851-5636 today for assistance.