Ear-Nose and Throat Doctor (ENT) Questions Ear-Nose and Throat Doctor (ENT)

When is an ear infection serious?

I am a 34 year old woman and I have had an ear infection for a week now. When is an ear infection serious?

3 Answers

An ear infection is serious when it does not go away, if there is drainage or blood coming from the ear, if the pain is severe. You should seek medical attention in any of these circumstances.
When it results in permanent hearing loss, meningitis, brain abscess, facial nerve damage, non-healing tympanic membrane perforation, chronic mastoiditis.
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Ear infections can be very painful, cause hearing loss or vertigo, or cause the tympanic membrane to rupture and the ear to drain. Complications such as meningitis, brain abscess, or facial paralysis are obviously very serious, even life threatening. I suggest that an infection with increasing pain or drainage needs specialist attention.