Yesterday I woke up and could not hear out of my one ear. I scheduled an appointment at UHS for Tuesday, knowing that I have another ear infection… AGAIN. I even know exactly the ear infection I have every time, it’s referred to as Otitis Media.
*WARNING, THE FOLLOWING IMAGE MAY BE GROSS TO SOME READERS, PROCEED WITH CAUTION*
The above image is a comparison of a healthy eardrum to an ear infected with Otitis Media. Otitis Media is a middle ear infection typically contracted after having a cold, flu or allergies. The bacteria gets into the ear because of the clogged Eustachian tubes, and the bacteria gets trapped with liquid, creating an infection in the space behind the ear drum (WebMD). This can cause the ear drum to burst, and lead to symptoms such as hearing loss, ear ringing, headaches, and fever (personal experience and Healthline). This ear infection is common in infants, children, and the elderly (Healthline). So why do I, an 18 year old, get this kind of ear infection at least twice a year?
The problem with me (and others who are suffering from chronic ear infections) could lie within the Adenoids.
The adenoids are located behind the tonsils. The adenoids can sometimes act as a gathering place for germs that get transferred into the Eustachian tubes, causing infection. Another problem that can occur with the adenoids is that they are too large, and that blocks the Eustachian tube, preventing proper drainage (MedicineNet). A solution for this issue is to get the adenoids removed, or an Adenoidectomy.
This seems to be a bit of a drastic solution, but personally, after being on the same antibiotics multiple times for the same ear infection, finding a permanent solution would be grand. Obviously when I go to UHS this week, they’ll probably write me an oh-so-familiar perscription of Amoxicillin and send me on my way. But maybe when I go home for break this winter, I’ll actually see an ENT (ear nose throat) doctor. For now however, I’ll continue to wonder and research why my poor ear continues to get infected.