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What Happens When Ear Infections Keep Coming Back?

Most people know what it’s like to have a nasty ear infection at some point in their life. But when they recur regularly, it could lead to some serious problems. LVPG Ear, Nose and Throat can help.

Almost every kid gets an ear infection at some point. According to the National Institutes of Health, five out of six American children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. Ear infections are the most common reason why parents bring their children to a doctor.

Adults are less prone to ear infections, but anyone can develop one. It all starts with either a respiratory tract infection, such as a cold or sinusitis, or allergies. If fluid or mucus collects behind the eardrums as a result of an illness or allergy, it creates the right atmosphere for an ear infection to brew. The area becomes inflamed, leading to painful swelling and redness in the ear canal. The result is ear pain, often fever, possibly hearing problems, sometimes discharge.

The good news is usually ear infections clear on their own, with pain being managed by common relievers. The bad news is when they don’t go away, or keep happening again and again, they can cause real problems.

LVPG Ear, Nose and Throat has leading clinical experts in treating chronic ear infections. The practice has four convenient locations in the region in order to take care of your problem as quickly as possible.

The risks of chronic ear infections

“Chronic ear disease is one of the more common problems we see in our practice,” says Lehigh Valley Health Network otolaryngology specialist Kevin Kriesel, MD, of LVPG Ear, Nose and Throat–17th Street. “It can lead to infections spreading to the bones of the ear, or growths inside the middle ear. There can be a real potential for hearing loss.”

Surgical and nonsurgical options for chronic ear infections

“We have several non-invasive surgical options depending on the problem,” Kriesel says. “When someone comes to us who has been fighting these infections continuously, it’s always rewarding for us to be able to finally provide some relief for them."

As a specialist, Kriesel sees patients who have exhausted medication options without any resolutions. When infections recur and have caused other problems around the middle ear, surgery is often the only solution. The procedure to reconstruct the eardrum, otherwise known as tympanoplasty, is one of the more common surgeries performed as a result of damage due to chronic ear infections. In addition, chronic ear infections can lead to the involvement of the surrounding structures such as the mastoid bone. In that case, a procedure called a mastoidectomy may be required to eradicate the infection. This is a less common problem, and it is usually recommended after long-term medical therapies have failed to treat the problem.

Do you suffer from chronic ear infections? Make an appointment today at LVPG Ear, Nose and Throat

Think you may have a hearing loss? Get more information at LVHN.org/ENTguide.