How Long Does Ear Infection Last

How Long Does Ear Infection Last
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How Long Does Ear Infection Last? Ear infections are a common occurrence in both children and adults. An ear infection can be bacterial or viral infections, and they result in severe pain in the ear. However, ear infections can be chronic or acute. Acute ear infections are short term while chronic ear infections are severe. If you or your children are suffering from mild ear infections, it’s better to what type of ear infection is causing the pain, How server it is to to the health, and how long does the ear infection last? In this article you will understand, the types of ear infections, their symptoms, and the duration they last?

How Long Does Ear Infection Last?

The length of the ear infection is primarily depending on the type of ear infection, the severity of the infection, and which section of the ear is affected. Mild cases of Ea infection clear in 3-5 days. If you are suffering from an ear infection, the first step is to identify which type of ear infection you have. 

The ear is divided into three sections- the inner ear, middle ear, and outer ear. And each section incorporates different infections, different lasting duration. 

Inner ear infections

Inner ear infections are divided into two types: labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis. 



It is caused by inflammation in the labyrinth(fluid-filled channel in the inner ear). This also disturbs the transmission of sensory information to the brain. When a person is affected by this inner ear infection, he can experience vertigo, nausea, vomiting, tinnitus, and hearing loss or impairment. 

People who suffer most from this ear infection are adults aged 30–60 years. Females are twice as vulnerable as males. 

How long does this Labyrinthitis ear infection last: 

The symptoms disappear after 1–2 weeks, as it is self-treatable. However, if the problem continues, it’s better to seek medical treatment.

Vestibular neuritis

Vestibular neuritis is an infection, which is associated with the vestibular nerve. The nerve is responsible for the detection of balance for a human being. 

If this nerve becomes inflamed, this can cause a loss of balance and other health issues. 

People who suffer from vestibular neuritis may experience vertigo, nausea, vomiting, balancing problems, and also slight pain in the head during movement. 

How long does this Vestibular neuritis ear infection last: 

Vestibular neuritis symptoms peak on the first 3 days and after this period it takes about a week to properly remove the infection. 

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Middle Ear Infections ( Otitis Media)

A middle ear infection is also referred to as otitis media. This ear infection occurs when the area behind the eardrum is inflamed by a virus or bacteria. Mostly, children suffer from this ear infection, and almost 80% of kids below age 3, are infected by this,  According to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford report. 

This ear infection mainly occurs during the winter and early spring session because of the active virus and bacteria in the environment. If an adult suffers from this ear infection, there is no worry, as it doesn’t last long, and is also not so infectious. If a child is suffering from this infection, it’s better to seek medical treatment. 

There are two types of middle ear infection: Acute otitis media, Otitis media with effusion

Acute otitis media

In this ear infection, there is swelling and redness, behind the eardrum. The person, who has acute otitis media, will experience dark yellow fluid trapped in the ear, and it will be hard for him/her to hear properly. This infection can also cause fever, a mid-level ear pain. 

Otitis media with effusion

This infection comes after, acute otitis media occurred. In this, the fluid construction inside the ear is increased, and often the fluid will still pour from the ear. 

Symptoms of middle ear infection

Some of the most common middle ear infection systems are:

  • ear pain
  • irritability
  • difficulty sleeping
  • tugging or pulling at the ears
  • fever
  • yellow, clear, or bloody discharge from the ears
  • loss of balance
  • problems hearing
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • decreased appetite
  • congestion

How long does Middle Ear Infection last?

Symptoms of this ear infection usually last for less than 48 hours. If the symptoms are longer than 48 hours, it’s better to seek medical treatment.

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Outer ear infection

An outer ear infection is an infection in the outer ear canal, leading from the outer opening of the ear to the eardrum. The medical term for inflammations of the outer ear is “otitis externa.” It is also known as “swimmer’s ear.”

Outer ear infections are usually caused by bacteria, viruses, fungus, and also sometimes allergic reactions. This is a common ear infection that can occur in any age group and to any gender. Generally, it mostly occurs in areas with high moisture and damage to the sensitive skin of the ear canal. 

Symptoms of Outer ear infection

Unlike other ear infections, this infection can worsen in the Long term. According to Doctors, this outer infection is categorized into three types: mild, moderate, and advanced. Every level has its own unique symptoms and lasting duration. 

Mild signs and symptoms

  • Itching in your ear canal
  • Slight redness inside your ear
  • Mild discomfort that’s made worse by pulling on your outer ear (pinna or auricle) or pushing on the little “bump” in front of your ear (tragus)
  • Some drainage of clear, odorless fluid

Moderate progression

  • More-intense itching
  • Increasing pain
  • More-extensive redness in your ear
  • Excessive fluid drainage
  • Feeling of fullness inside your ear and partial blockage of your ear canal by swelling, fluid, and debris.
  • Decreased or muffled hearing

Advanced progression

  • Severe pain that might radiate to your face, neck or side of your head
  • Complete blockage of your ear canal
  • Redness or swelling of your outer ear
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes in your neck
  • Fever

How long does Outer Ear Infection last:  

By following a proper treatment procedure, the outer infection is cured between 7 to 10 days. If the symptoms are in the moderate phase, the ear drops medications are used, which takes longer than 10 to 14 days. If a person is suffering from advanced symptoms of an outer ear infection, it takes about a month to get treated fully. However, if the outer ear infection is left untreated, it leads to severe health issues, including loss of hearing permanently or an infection spreading to the brain. 

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How long does ear infection last with antibiotics? 

The duration of the ear infection lasting after taking antibiotics is different for children and adults. After taking the first dose of antibiotics, the ear pain is not relieved in the first 24 hours. The medicine has a small effect on the pain. Most ear infections last only about 2-3 days after taking antibiotics, and if the symptoms do not improve, you should seek a doctor. Children’s ear infection takes a longer time to heal, as compared to adults. 

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How long does ear infection last without antibiotics? 

Antibiotics are strong medications that are used to kill bacteria that cause ear infections. However, in most cases of ear infections, antibiotics are not required. If a person suffers from a mild case of ear infection, the length an ear infection lasts without any antibiotics is  2- 3 days. All symptoms mostly disappear after 4-5 days. Although ear infection is self-treatable, if the pain is severe, it’s better to seek medical help. Also, check out which type of ear infection you are suffering from, and the exact duration of the type of ear infection. 

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How long can an ear infection last? 

The ear infection can last more than 3-4 months, slowly spreading to nerves and sometimes to the brain. Generally, people do not have a clear idea whether they are suffering from an ear infection or not, in mild cases. An ear infection is self-treatable, but an inner ear infection is a primary infection that can last more than 3 months. It can cause severe health issues if left untreated. 

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How long do ear infection antibiotics take to work? 

The dose of Antibiotics determines, how long it will take to work properly. If it is a strong medication, it will stop the ear pain in under 18 hours, but weak antibiotics can take up to 24- 36 hours to show the signs. 

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