private ear infection treatment in London
Ear infections are common and symptoms can include:
- Earache or ear pain
- Fever (often the only symptom in young children or babies)
- Itchy ears
- Discharge (fluid coming from the ear)
- Deafness or blocked ears
- Noises in the ear (tinnitus)
Infections can affect the outer, middle or inner parts of your ear and can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungus or yeasts.
Outer ear infections
The most common outer ear infection is called otitis externa, or swimmer’s ear.
Who gets otitis externa?
Risk factors for getting this type of infection include injury to the ear canal (e.g. from cotton buds), skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, immune compromise (e.g. diabetes mellitus) and regular swimming.
Otitis externa causes itchy, painful ears that produce smelly green or yellow discharge.
How is otitis externa treated?
Treatment includes antibiotic and steroid drops, pain relief and keeping the ear completely dry, even in the shower! Often, to allow the antibiotic drops to work, the ear canal needs to cleaned of debris. This is often done using microsuction. Occasionally, if the ear canal is very swollen, a small wick is inserted into the ear canal to help draw the antibiotic drops into the ear. Sometimes, if otitis externa or itchy ears becomes a recurrent problem, your Doctor may take an ear swab to find out the type of infection.
Other outer ear infections include infections of the external part of the ear (pinna cellulitis or chondritis) and ear canal abscess (furunculosis). When this part of your ear is infected it causes severe ear pain, or earache and sometimes redness or swelling of the outer ear.
At Auris Ear Care, our specialist ear doctors can diagnose and treat out ear infections such as otitis externa in the comfort and safety of your own home using our mobile home visit service or at our convenient Harley Street clinic in central London. We are open for home visits 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across London and the Home Counties.
What will my private ear infection appointment involve?
Your Auris clinician will listen to your concerns and ask you questions about your symptoms. We will note down your medical history and ask about any allergies you may have. After taking consent, our ear expert will examine your ears using a small device with a light (an otoscope). This is painless, quick and will allow our clinician to make a diagnosis.
If you have an outer ear infection, you will be offered microsuction as the first part of your ear infection treatment. This involves gentle cleaning of the ear under microscopic vision using fine suction to clear away any debris or infection from the ear canal. The can be safely performed in the comfort of your own home during a private home visit. If the ear canal is very blocked, sometimes we need to insert a wick into the ear. This is a small piece of sponge that draws the antibiotic drops into the ear. It will need to be removed after two to three days, and our Auris clinician will arrange a follow-up appointment for you. Once your appointment is over, we will be able to offer you a private prescription so that you can collect your antibiotics from your local pharmacy.
How can I reduce the chance of getting otitis externa/swimmer’s ear?
The best things you can do to prevent further episodes of ear pain, itching or ear discharge (otitis externa) are:
- Keep your ears dry, especially in the bath or shower
- Top tip! If you suffer from recurrent infections, cover the outer part of your ear in cotton wool covered in Vaseline, to provide a water tight seal when you wash
- Throw out your cotton buds!
- Top tip! Never put sharp objects or cotton buds into your or your child's ear canal, even if your ear is itching or you have an earache. This can cause tiny cuts in the ear canal that allow infections to start
- Seek medical advice early from Auris Ear Care or your GP if you have any of the symptoms above, as you may require ear infection treatment. At the first sign of swimmer's ear, or if you or your child have ear pain or earache - contact Auris Ear Care for an assessment by an ENT doctor. We can usually arrange a home visit in London and the Home Counties within 24 hours.
Middle ear infections
Middle ear infections, or acute otitis media are common, especially amongst children and babies. About 80% of children will have had a middle ear infection by 3 years old. They are a type of upper respiratory tract infection and can happen after a sore throat or cold.
These infections cause pain, earache, fever and sometimes discharge if the eardrum bursts, releasing pus into the ear canal. Often the pain and symptoms get better after this, and usually the ear drum will heal normally. Longer term problems can occur when there is a hole in the ear drum (a “perforation”), or fluid (“glue”) that collects behind the eardrum. These problems often require a referral to a hospital ENT doctor as these problems can cause hearing loss and perforation (hole) can get infected. We have close affiliations with trusted ENT Consultants in specialists London and Home Counties hospitals which can help with a referral if required.
Most acute middle ear infections settle without any ear infection treatment, such as antibiotics. Rarely, complications can occur where the infection spreads to the bone behind the ear, causing a condition called mastoiditis. This is a medical emergency and any patient with mastoiditis should be seen and assessed in an Accident & Emergency Department.
Inner ear infections
Inner ear infections can cause hearing loss and spinning dizziness (vertigo). They do not always cause earache or ear pain. The most common type of inner ear infection is called labyrinthitis and is usually caused by viruses. Treatment for labyrinthitis can include anti-sickness medications and fluids.
I think I have an ear infection – what do I do?
If you think you or your child may need ear infection treatment, call us now on 0203 151 0708, or make an appointment enquiry here to see one of our doctors. Our doctors are available for private home visits in London and the Home Counties 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.