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Types & Treatments

Ear infections are a fairly common condition, especially among children, that occur when bacteria or viruses take hold, causing swelling and sometimes a build-up of fluids.

There are several different types of ear infection that affect different parts of the ear and can have different effects. Our doctors can talk through your symptoms, diagnose the type of ear infection you have and prescribe the necessary medication to treat it. See a Doctor
Ear infection symptoms

Types of ear infection

Outer ear infections:

Infections of the outer ear (also known as Otitis Externa or ‘swimmer’s ear’) cause inflammation, swelling and pain.

Symptoms include:
  • Intense ear pain
  • An itching sensation inside the ear
  • Liquid or pus leaking from the ear
  • Temporary or occasional hearing loss

This type of infection will usually require prescription medication and you’ll need to see a doctor to arrange this.

Inner ear infections

Inner ear infections (also called Labyrinthitis) can be very serious, affecting your balance and hearing. Symptoms can be very intense during the first week, but will usually get better within a couple of weeks.

Symptoms of inner ear infections might be:

Loss of balance
Hearing loss

The condition can be caused either by viruses or bacteria and if you think you might have it, you should consult with a doctor. Inner ear infections can have very severe effects, such as hearing loss, if not treated properly.

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Ear infections in children

Children under the age of 10 are especially vulnerable to developing infections of the middle ear (known as otitis media).

Symptoms can include:

  • Rubbing and pulling on their ears
  • A high temperature
  • Irritability
  • Being unresponsive to quiet sounds
  • Feeling poorly
  • Although less common, middle ear infections can also affect older children and adults, who may experience earache, hearing loss and sickness.
If you or your child is displaying any of these symptoms, it’s well worth consulting a GP. While antibiotics aren’t usually required, they may be needed in severe cases, or where symptoms last a long time. See a Doctor

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