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Ear Infections

Ear is one of the five sense organs. Even before your baby opens his eyes, he can hear all that is going around her. Ears act as a microphone which converts the sound vibrations into nerve impulses that transmit messages to the brain. After colds, ear infections are the next most cited reason to visit the doctor. Given the exposure of the ears to the outer elements, there can be various infections affecting the ear. The good part is most of these infections can be treated if detected well in time.

Common ear problems and their reasons:
  • Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) - brought on by too much exposure to loud noises
  • Otitis media - this infection is the most common cause of hearing loss in kids. It is caused by the blockage in the middle part of the ear by allergies, a cold, or upper respiratory infection.
  • Swimmer's ear -this infection affects the outer ear when water and bacteria get trapped in the ear canal.
  • Earwax (cerumen) impaction – when the ear wax builds up and plug the inside of the ear canal (known as "impaction") and cause hearing loss.
  • Injuries, burns, and bruising - because of the high external exposure, ears are subject to all manner of minor injuries.

Symptoms

Since your baby has not yet developed the ability to speak it is difficult to detect if he is suffering from an ear problem. Tugging the ear is not really a reliable symptom either. Your child’s irritability may be a symptom and she would not respond well to sounds as normally she would. Ear infections typically set in after a cold has been raging for a couple of days. If there is some fluid or pus coming out from your baby’s ears than be sure that she has got a perforated ear drum and is in a lot of pain.

Cure
  • Be careful when you clean your baby’s ears. The ears are really tender and can get scratched and infected. Get your baby vaccinated in time. Vaccines protect the child from various kind of bacterial and viral infections.
  • Make sure that you put your stereo or TV on low volume. If you are travelling outside, protect your baby’s ear from loud noises by covering them up.
  • If you are getting your child’s ears pierced that ensure that the piercing is done in sanitized surroundings.
  • Feed the baby by lifting her head up, higher than the stomach.
  • In case of hearing loss or hearing problems, contact your doctor right away. If treated early, hearing damage often can be minimized or cured.