Causes of Ear Infections

The ear is a magnificent part of the human body. This small part of the body is responsible for so much of our senses. It is responsible for our hearing and for our balance. It consists of three main parts. The inner ear, the middle ear, and the outer ear. If any part of the ear is damaged, then hearing and balance is affected.

The ear is prone to ear infections. This is true with people of any age for a number of different reasons. Adults can get ear infections just like children can. But, children get them more often than anyone.

The ear has a unique part to it that is a tube. This tube runs all the way from the middle ear to the upper part of the throat. It is called the Eustachian tube. This tube is responsible for equalizing the air pressure from the middle ear and the outside air pressure. This is a part of the ear that can become infected quite often in young children.

There are differences in the eustachian tube between young kids and adults. In young kids, the tube is much shorter. Over time as the child grows, the tube will get longer and wider inside. In an adult, the tube is much more at an angle. This angle from the middle ear to the upper throat is good for any fluid drainage. The fluid follows the path of the eustachian tube to the throat. In small children, the tube is not near as much at an angle, cause fluid build up which in turn can cause an infection.

Swimmer’s ear is an ear infection most often in children due to water that gets trapped in the ear. Any trapped water in the ear can cause bacteria to grow, and this is why it is important to keep water out of your child’s ear as they swim. Or, if you can’t, you need to try to get it out when they are done swimming.

Viruses can cause ear infections. This can lead to bacterial infections. A cold or the flu is the common culprit for ear infections this way. The virus that is the main player in ear infections is the Rhinovirus. It is not the virus that will cause the infection, but the fact that the virus will make membranes swell and that will block airways. That blocking will cause the eustachian tube to become blocked, and if it becomes blocked so that it does not drain well, then you have the makings of an ear infection.

If a child has a respirtatory infection, that can be grounds for an ear infection in children. But there are other causes for ear infections in children.

Anatomic abnormalities are other reasons for children to get ear infections. Any condition that will diminish the defenses for the middle ear will can increase the liklihood for an ear infection. Having a more flat, rather than angled eustachian tube can cause an ear infection. Ceft palate can be a cause for an ear infection. Even conditions that are deemed genetic, like Kartagener’s syndrome can be a cause for an ear infection.

Ear infections that are persistent or chronic can lead to a child getting tubes in their ears so that fluid will drain easily, lessening the chances of getting an ear infection.

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