Double ear infections are also known as bilateral acute otitis media (BAOM). They occur when you have an infection that starts in one ear and develops on the other side shortly after, resulting in an ear infection in both ears simultaneously. Below we review the symptoms, causes and treatments for a double ear infection.
A study published in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal reports that, “The clinical picture of BAOM is frequently more severe than that of [unilateral acute otitis media] UAOM, but overlap of clinical symptoms is common.” In other words, the symptoms of double and single infections are the same, but they tend to be more severe with a double.
- Drainage and pus from the ears
- Trouble sleeping
- Hearing loss
- Ear pain
- Nasal congestion
- Cough or hoarse voice
- Poor appetite
- Bulging of the eardrums
Even if your child can’t tell you they’re experiencing these symptoms, you might notice them tugging on one or both earlobes if they have an ear infection.
What Are the Causes of a Double Ear Infection?
Ear infections are the result of fluid becoming trapped in the middle ear. This is most often due to inflammation of the Eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ears to the back of the throat and allow fluid to drain and air pressure to equalize. Fluid becomes trapped when the Eustachian tubes are inflamed due to allergies or an upper respiratory infection.
How Are Double Ear Infections Treated?
You should see a doctor right away if you suspect you or your child has an ear infection, whether single or double. They may recommend any of the following treatment options.
If symptoms are mild, your or your child’s doctor may recommend a wait-and-see approach. In the meantime, you can manage symptoms by applying a warm compress over the ears and taking over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen from Wells Pharmacy and Medical Supply.
If your ear infection doesn’t clear up within a few days, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics, which may be in oral medication or eardrop form. In most cases, ear infections are treated with amoxicillin.
Young children who experience chronic or persistent ear infections may need to have ear tubes surgically placed. These work by opening up the Eustachian tubes so fluid can drain.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today.