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What Are the Symptoms of Inner Ear Infections in Adults?

We heard your ear is bothering you. Are you wondering if it’s an inner ear infection?

It’s important to recognize the signs of an ear infection so that you can seek treatment. Sometimes, they go away on their own, but if symptoms persist, it can lead to damage or hearing loss.

Keep reading to find out about the symptoms of inner ear infections in adults so you can stay happy and healthy.

What Is an Inner Ear Infection?

First, it’s important to understand what makes up the inner ear.

The inner ear is responsible for hearing and balance. It consists of semicircular canals, cochlea, and vestibules.

Collectively, these parts are known as the inner ear. It can become infected by bacteria or viruses. Or, it can seem “infected” if there’s inflammation happening.

Ear infections are more common in children and for them, they tend to go away quickly and on their own. The same isn’t always true for adults.

Symptoms of Inner Ear Infections in Adults

Symptoms vary depending on if it’s an outer, middle, or inner ear infection.

To make things a little more challenging, symptoms may be few and far between — or there may be none at all.

However, if the infection continues, symptoms will appear and are likely to suddenly come on. 

Inner Ear Infection

Symptoms of an inner ear infection include:

  • Dizziness
  • Earache
  • Ear pain
  • Issues with balance
  • Trouble hearing
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Spinning sensation

If the infection progresses, more severe symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or hearing loss may occur.

These symptoms are slightly different than middle and outer ear infections.

Middle Ear Infection

These are the most common types of ear infections. 

The middle ear allows sound to go from the outer ear to the inner ear. If it becomes infected, symptoms may include:

  • Discharge from the ear
  • Earache
  • Ear pain
  • Fever

Middle ear infections often come with having a cold.

Outer Ear Infection

The outer ear directs sound towards your middle ear. To simplify it, it’s basically a funnel.

When the outer ear becomes infected, symptoms may be visible and include:

  • Ear pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness

No matter which of these you think you may have, it’s important to seek treatment.

Inner Ear Infection Treatment

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and they don’t resolve in a few days (or they become worse), see a doctor. And by a doctor, we don’t mean an emergency room doctor (read this article to find out where you should go). 

A doctor can look into your ear with an otoscope. They will be able to see what’s abnormal and decide on a treatment for you.

This may include medications like steroids, antibiotics, antivirals. They may be in pill or ear drop form.

Avoid trying to take care of it yourself with “home remedies”, as this could result in worsening the issue. Untreated ear infections may lead to permanent hearing loss, so it’s important to see a medical professional.

Your ear should be better anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on severity. Inner ear infections sometimes take up to 6 weeks to heal, but it all depends on how bad it is and the treatment you get.

Protect Your Health

Now that you know the symptoms of inner ear infections in adults, you can make the best decisions for your health.

Contact us or come in today if you have any health problems, including an inner ear infection.