Chronic ear infection is fluid, swelling or an infection behind the eardrum that does not go away or keeps coming back. It causes long-term or permanent damage to the ear.
The Eustachian tube runs from the middle of each ear to the back of the throat. This tube drains fluid made in the middle ear. If the Eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up. When this happens, infection can occur. A chronic ear infection develops when fluid or an infection behind the eardrum does not go away. A chronic ear infection may be caused by an acute ear infection that does not completely go away or repeated ear infections.
“Suppurative chronic otitis” is a phrase doctors use to describe an eardrum that keeps rupturing, draining or swelling in the middle ear or mastoid area and does not go away.
Ear infections are more common in children because their Eustachian tubes are shorter, narrower and more horizontal than in adults. Chronic ear infections are much less common than acute ear infections.
Symptoms of a chronic ear infection may be less severe than symptoms of an acute infection. The problem may go unnoticed and untreated for a long time.
Symptoms may include ear pain or discomfort that is usually mild and feels like pressure in the ear, fever, usually low-grade, fussiness in infants, pus-like drainage from the ear, and hearing loss. Symptoms may continue or come and go. They may occur in one or both ears.*
Ear, Nose & Throat Associates are experts at treating ear infections in both children and adults. Contact us today for more information go to Nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000619.htm