hearing exam otoscopy- universalYou probably associate ear infections with children, but adults are susceptible to them too.

The bacteria or virus that leads to ear infections enters the ear canal or middle ear following a bout with the common cold or another type of infection.


What are the symptoms of an ear infection in adults?

  • An acute or dull pain or a continuous ache
  • A sudden, sharp pain, accompanied by drainage from the ear canal
  • Fullness or ringing in the ear
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Loss of balance
  • Muffled sound, decreased ability to hear

When should you seek medical attention?

It’s a good idea to see your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms above, but seek immediate attention if you experience:

  • An accompanying fever over 104 degrees
  • Drainage
  • Frequent ear infections

What types of treatment are available?   

Your treatment options depend on the type and cause of your infection. Many adult ear infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics will not clear up the virus. But you can treat the symptoms with rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and warm compresses to help relieve discomfort.

When bacteria are the cause, an antibiotic may be prescribed. Ear drops may be suggested for both types of infections.

The part of your ear that is infected - your ear canal (otitis externa) or your middle ear (otitis media) - will also determine the type of treatment.

Unfortunately, frequent ear infections can lead to hearing loss, so they should never be ignored.


To schedule an appointment with an audiologist at Universal Hearing Care in Tarzana, CA, send us a message or call us at  818.345.3200