Ear Aches, Ear Infections, Tubes, and More: A Parents' Guide to Inner Ear Problems


Guide to Ear Problems in Babies and Kids

Many people love this time of year. Along with the chance to gather with family and friends for the holidays, winter offers us a chance to experience nature in all of its winter glory and wonder. With the cold winter weather however comes the potential for more illness, specifically more ear infections, and ear-related illnesses.

We receive questions from parents quite often regarding what to do when their child has an ear infection, how to spot the signs of ear infections in children and babies, and how to treat ear infections at home with the help of a pediatrician. Read on to find out what you need to know about earaches, ear infections, and more.


Signs and Symptoms of Ear Infections in Kids

As an adult, you’re more likely to recognize symptoms of an ear infection. Common signs like ear pain and dizziness can be enough to indicate it’s time for a trip to the doctor. But how do we know when an infant or child has an ear infection? Here are a few things to watch out for.

Loss of Balance or Coordination

When an ear infection occurs, fluid can build up in the inner ear where our body’s balance system is located. This collection of fluid can cause dizziness, vertigo, and balance problems in both adults and children. For infants toddlers who have begun walking, look for signs of imbalance, or abnormal imbalance, if you suspect an ear infection.

Nausea + Vomiting

For adults, children, and infants alike, inner ear infections can cause nausea and vomiting in addition to dizziness due to a buildup of fluid in the ears. This accumulation of fluid not only causes balance disorders but can have an effect on the body’s ability to regulate perception. When these systems are compromised, mild to severe nausea and vomiting can occur.

Ear Sensitivity

Sensitive ears are one of the most common side effects of ear infections. Babies and children who suddenly exhibit signs of sensitive ears such as crying when lying on their side or when their ears are touched may have an ear infection that is causing severe pain for their small ears. If your pediatrician suspects an ear infection, he or she may be able to prescribe a pain reliever in the form of ear drops that can help alleviate sensitivity and pain.

Excessive Ear Contact

Often when an ear infection is present, babies and children will pull on their ears as a response to the buildup of fluid or of pain in the inner ear. If your little one suddenly seems to touch his or her ears while exhibiting one or more of the other symptoms indicated, contact your physician to schedule an appointment.

Not Sleeping

Illness is one of the most common reasons for irregular sleep schedules in infants. If your little one is uninterested in sleeping or is sleeping excessively, watch for other signs and symptoms. If he or she is experiencing pain from an ear infection, he may be unable to sleep. If a lack of sleep occurs in combination with excessive crying or crying more than usual, schedule an appointment with his pediatrician.

READ MORE: Guide to Setting Sleep Schedules for Kids

Crying + Irritability

Once you become familiar with your child’s sleep patterns, chances are you also recognize when he or she is crying more than usual. If your child suddenly displays symptoms of irritability or excessive crying, he could be attempting to let you know he is in pain.

High Fever

A fever should never be overlooked in an infant or child. In addition to ear infections, a fever can be caused by a number of serious illnesses. If your child has a fever for a prolonged period, or if he or she is under the age of three months, a fever warrants a trip to the pediatrician as soon as possible.

READ MORE: How High is Too High?


When should I take my child to the doctor?

If your child is over the age of three months, a fever higher than 101 degrees should be monitored. Consult your child’s pediatrician if you have any concerns. And if any other symptoms are present, make an appointment as soon as possible. If your child is having trouble breathing or is exhibiting symptoms of abdominal pain, swelling, trouble swallowing, or seizure, seek emergency medical services as soon as possible.

Need to schedule an appointment? Our appointment line offers a convenient way to schedule an appointment. You can also schedule appointments online or through the patient portal. 



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Posted by Tim Flatt at 16:20