Inflammation of the ear (otitis) is an infection of the inner, middle or external ear that causes inflammation (redness and swelling) and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum. Inflammation of the middle ear is most common (especially in children). It is caused by microbes from other diseases, such as sinusitis, cold, flu or infection of the respiratory tract. Inflammation of the external ear is the inflammation of the outer parts of the ear, caused by injuries. Inflammation of the inner ear is caused by damage to auditory nerves or when inflammation of the middle ear is not treated on time.
Main symptoms of inflammation of the ear canal (also otitis externa) are ear pain, fever, ear flush and worsened hearing. Babies and children will show signs of irritability.
These symptoms occur together with other cold symptoms, such as cough, stuffed nose and sore throat. The infection of the ear can be diagnosed based on the symptoms you describe and an ENT examination. The doctor will likely use an otoscope to look at the ears, throat and nasal passage. In certain cases, other tests might be required such as acoustic reflectometry, tympanometry, tympanocentesis as well as examining hearing, the sensitivity of eardrum and other laboratory tests.
Nose, throat and ears are closely linked together by anatomical structures; therefore usually if there is an infection in one, the others become infected soon after. An infection can become more complicated and develop into a serious disease, therefore it is important to treat them as soon as they’re detected.