Ear Infections

Outer ear infections occur in the outer ear or ear canal and can start with redness, itching and then sometimes pain.

  • The skin inside the ear canal swells and the ear becomes tender.
  • As the swelling in the ear canal increases, the pain may increase.
  • Treatment may involve a thorough and gentle cleaning of the ears and may be followed by medication.

Middle ear infections occur in the air space between the eardrum and the inner ear.

  • They are common in children but also occur in adults.
  • Infections usually start as a rapid onset of ear pain with muffled hearing.
  • The pain can accelerate over just a few hours, and in some cases, the pressure may cause the eardrum to rupture with a sudden discharge of mucous, pus or blood.
  • Medications may be prescribed.

Inner ear infections are usually not infections at all.

  • Most conditions diagnosed as inner ear infections are inflammations or irritations of the balance centers located in the inner ear.
  • These episodes of inflammation can start with a very abrupt onset of severe room-spinning and can be sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
  • Antibiotics are usually not necessary for these episodes, since very few are actually caused by bacteria.

Ear tubes may be one treatment option for persistent ear infections. Learn more about ear tubes.

If you think you might have an ear infection and would like to make an appointment to see one of the ENT physicians, call 216-778-4391.

young boy having his ears examined
Your Ear Pain May Not Be Caused By Your Ear

Other conditions such as TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ), neck or cervical spine problems and dental issues can cause ear pain.

Learn more