Problems and diseases come without any prior notice. Same is the case with infections. Our whole body is complex machine and hence every part, muscle, and tissue needs to work efficiently. Our 5 sense organs that include eyes, nose, ears, tongue and skin are very important for each human being. Infection or problem in any one of these can be serious threat to our health. Ear infections are majorly caused due to fungus. Let us know what type of fungal infections can happen in our ears and what causes it.
What Causes Fungal Infection in Ears?
Ear specialist Dr HK Sharma, Otolaryngologist, Visionary Hospital, Kanpur answers about the causes of fungal infection in ears. According to him fungal infections are quite common because they are caused by earwax. Wax present inside the ears protects the ear in form of a thin lining from creating fungus. But people often think it as waste and remove that lining by ear buds and other methods. This allows the infection and fungus to grow inside the ear and create problems. In medical language it is termed otomycosis. Ear infections usually occur in outer ear or middle ear due to many possible reasons; it can also turn into chronic if not given attention.
Types of Ear Infections
1# Middle Ear Infection
This type of ear infection is caused due to respiratory issues or cold. Basically the infection moves to ears through a tube called Eustachian tube. There are responsible to regulate pressure in the ears. An infection of middle ear can cause irritation in the Eustachian tubes which results in swelling. Due to this proper drainage is prevented and fluid is collected inside the eardrum which causes the infection.
2# Outer Ear Infection
It is much easier to locate the infection in the outer ear as it is visible from naked eyes. The part outside our ears is called pinna where the infection generally occurs. It can be due to bug bites, piercing, fights etc. The external auditory canal extends inwards to eardrums which is also called swimmer’s ears in normal language. The excessive earwax traps moisture which results in bacteria generation and people often scratch their ears due to irritation which increases the infection.
Kindly never use pencils, fingers, paperclips, pins or any such thing to scratch your ears, it can lead to infection and damage inside the ears. Use only soft ear buds when you feel wax generation to be excessive.
3# Swimmer’s Ear
People who know what it is, can guess it from the name. It is very common infection which happens due to water getting trapped in the inner canal of ears. Mostly when we take a bath or go to some water bodies, we come back and scratch our ears to make them dry. But sometimes the water gets stuck inside your inner canals of ears behind the wax. This causes the problem; it begins to pain in the area. The ear can become swollen and foul smell pigment starts coming from the ears.
Fortunately, treatment for this can be implemented easily and resolved through the help of anti-biotic drops. However this treatment is only applicable till the infection is not severe, if that happens then you will have to see an otolaryngologist (ear specialist). But the most important thing to do is to clean the wax from the ears so that it does not spread.
4# Fungal Infection
Fungal otitis externa, otomycosis and mycotic otitis externa are three types of major fungal infections which occur in ear. Fungal infection causes excessive irritation, hearing loss and ear drainage. Infection which is caused due to this can have white, spongy appearing black or yellow specks. It can be very similar to mould which grows on bread. Treatment of fungus infection requires anti-biotic drop. It can be either in liquid o powder form. But one should remain aware because fungal infection can take long and needs to be cleaned out more than once.
General Symptoms of Fungal Ear Infection
- Itching in ears
- Discharge of thick yellow pigment from ears.
- Hearing problems
- Pain in ears
- Flaky Skin
- Swelling or Inflammation.
5# Inner Ear Infection
It can be one of the scariest type of infection because it caused due to wrong and overused healthcare procedure. It can be scary because inner ear is the closest to our brain and it contains fluid that is required for communication to happen. Therefore inflammation or infection in this area can result in loss of balance, nausea, vomiting and ever permanent hearing loss. Inner ear infections are mostly in form of a virus than bacteria. There are two types of inner ear infection Labyrinthitis and Vestibular neuritis symptom and both have different symptoms and treatment method. One should visit ear specialist as soon as he finds common symptoms of inner ear infection.
Prevention Methods to Prevent Ear Infection-
- Keep your ears clean, dry them after swimming and use cotton swab with care.
- Do not smoke, avoid passive smoking as much as possible.
- Keep a medication for allergies for triggering up common situations.
- Wash your hands well after coming in contact with people having cold or respiratory diseases.
- Keep eardrops which can be used for mild infection and during itchiness.
Ears are very crucial part of our body and they require much attention. There are many infections which can happen in the ear which also includes fungal infections. Swimmer’s ear and fungal infection is most common type of infection which occurs to people. It can be treated if right medication is provided. But consulting a ear expert is always recommended in consideration of ear infections.
Ear specialist Dr HK Sharma, Otolaryngologist, Visionary Hospital, Kanpur
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