Ear infections commonly result from mucus accumulation in the ear, according to Mayo Clinic. This health issue causes inflammation and pain. Mucus accumulation in the ears most frequently occurs during a viral or bacterial infection. Draining mucus is important for preventing health complications, such as impaired hearing and speech delays. It can also minimize the pain and discomfort experienced with mucus accumulation and ear infection.
Schedule an appointment to have your ears evaluated. A family doctor or an ear, nose and throat specialist can examine your ears and determine the level of mucus accumulation. The doctor can make drainage treatment recommendations based on your situation.
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Drain the ears. If you have persistent mucus accumulation in the ears, your doctor may need to drain the fluids by placing a tiny tube in the ear opening. The tube may remain in place for as long as six months to completely drain the fluids. These tubes are temporary and fall out on their own, according to Mayo Clinic.
Undergo permanent ear drainage. If mucus continues to accumulate after the doctor has drained your ears, he might recommend a more permanent solution. He can install permanent ear tubes that are surgically implanted into the ear drum and continually remove mucus from the ears.
Treat infection caused by mucus accumulation. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics in conjunction with ear drainage for children age 2 and younger; for someone with ear pain and a fever of 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; and for anyone with moderate to severe ear pain, according to Mayo Clinic. Take your prescription as directed and don't discontinue the medication early.
Schedule follow-up appointments with your doctor, who should monitor mucus buildup in the ears. She might also recommend regular hearing and language tests for children to ensure that the mucus buildup is not interfering with these functions, according to Mayo Clinic.
If you experience pain with the fluid buildup, place a warm compress to the affected area to minimize discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can also reduce discomfort.
Don’t try to drain ears at home; that may increase the risk of hearing complications. Always partner with your doctor for mucus drainage.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.