Treatment of ear infection in general is normally non-surgical. Most young children will have many infections as their immune system is developing and becoming accustomed to bugs in the environmental. As they grow older, their immune system can efficiently manage bugs without creating the inflammation leading to ear infection. If your child is unwell with ear infection, antibiotics can be used to reduce the severity and time course of the ear infection. However, many parents become concerned about the trend of infection over time and we then consider whether grommets are the right solution. Grommets are small tubes which sit in the eardrum for a period of months. They are inserted during a short anaesthetic.
Ear infections are a common part of childhood and are usually the result of viruses or bacteria within the middle ear space. This space is where the hearing bones are housed. Children experience infections commonly because of their developing anatomy and developing immune system. Most infections do clear quickly, sometimes with antibiotics. However, it can be a problem if infections are frequent, severe, associated with hearing loss or speech delay or are compromising normal development.
Typical symptoms include pain, pulling at ears, fever, discharge from the ear or changes in hearing or speech.
Diagnosis is based on evaluation of symptoms and examination. The ear drum and middle ear space are assessed with a microscope, and hearing levels checked.