It is very common for a child to get their first ear infection before the age of one. Many parents often miss the signs and symptoms, leading to prolonged discomfort for babies. In addition to pain, ear infections may cause bigger problems later in life. The ability to hear, which can be damaged by ear infections, directly correlates with the development of speech and many other growth milestones. Protecting your baby’s hearing health is very important. For this reason, it is critical that parents remain diligent and on the lookout for ear infections in babies.
What are The Signs?
It can be difficult to pinpoint the cause when your child is showing signs of discomfort, but you should always be suspicious of an ear infection if your child is showing one or more of these symptoms:
- Trouble Sleeping
- Frequent Pulling at the Ears
If you believe that your child has an ear infection, do not panic. Remember, infections of the ears are very common in infants and children. Catching the infection early will ensure that you can help your child remain comfortable and adequately treat the condition.
A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat a severe or persistent ear infection. Your child’s ENT doctor may recommend that you keep track of the number of ear infections that your child experiences over time. If your baby is diagnosed with four or more ear infections within one year, or three infections before six months time, your doctor may recommend surgery to implant tubes to help the ear drain properly.
Tubes will help your baby’s ear to ventilate and prevent him or her from accumulating bacteria from built up fluids. Implanting tubes within the ear is an outpatient surgery and minimally invasive, taking about 15 minutes to complete. Though anesthesia is required, your baby will be acting like his or her normal self again very soon after the procedure has been completed. The tubes normally fall out on their own after six months to one year.
Parents should remain on the lookout for ear infections plaguing their babies to protect them from the damage that persistent infections could potentially cause. If you suspect that your child is so afflicted, be proactive. Try to treat the ear infection at home initially, visit your doctor if you are concerned that the infection is not going away and discuss the option of your baby having surgery to implant tubes if they have experienced multiple infections over a short period of time.