Ear disorders are common in children. Children are more prone to ear infections because their immune systems are not fully developed. The ear is a complex organ and has three parts: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Ear infections are usually caused by microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
Ear infections can be painful and cause fevers. In some cases, the pain is so severe that the child cannot sleep or eat and has to be hospitalized. Infections usually worsen because they are not treated. Children with recurrent ear infections are more prone to permanent damage to the middle ear and may also develop hearing loss.
The most common causes of ear infection in children are:
- Temperature changes, such as swimming or a cold wind
- Irritation to the ear
- Poor hygiene
- An upper respiratory infection
- Nasal congestion
Otitis Media (Ear infections) in Children
Otitis media with effusion (OME) refers to the presence of fluid in the middle ear without the presence of an acute infection. Studies have shown that OME affects over 2 million children annually and is the leading cause of hearing loss in children.
The children that have OME experience ear pain, hearing loss and increased effort in trying to hear. The child may also experience dizziness, irritability, sleeping difficulties or inability to eat or drink.
Balance Disorders in Children
Balance disorders present in children are usually in the form of developmental delay, or due to any illness/injury that has taken a toll on their young bodies. Such conditions could prove to be dangerous if left untreated and hence, it is utmost vital for parents to look out for the signs identified with balance disorders.
Hearing Loss in Children
If a child has a hearing loss, the sooner that the diagnosis is discovered the better. This early discovery can result in choices such as cochlear implants and other choices that will ensure the development of your child’s hearing and language skills. It is important that a hearing loss be diagnosed as soon as possible, as this will enable your child to receive the treatments they need.
Special Needs of Children with Ear Problems
Children with ear problems can face a lot of struggles in their day-to-day life. Sometimes, children living with ear problems, such as frequent ear infections or hearing loss, can struggle as they try to do ordinary tasks, like attending school. For example, they might have trouble hearing what their teacher is saying in class because of the ring in their ears caused by the constant infections. In some cases, it can even be hard for them to hear what their peers are saying during school activities.
Seeing an ENT Doctor for your Child’s Ear Problems
Seeing an ENT doctor is important if your child is suffering from ear or throat issues. An ENT doctor is trained to diagnose, treat and help prevent ear and throat problems. He/she also knows how to treat other related problems such as allergies, sinus infections and ear infections, which is why it’s really imperative to seek help from them on time.