While not all cases of swimmer's ear will impact an individual's ability to hear sound, some will, especially during the moderate to advanced stages. Initially, patients may have some slightly muffled hearing, but as the infection becomes worse, they may find their hearing decreases until they can't hear anything out of the infected ear. Unfortunately, when left untreated, swimmer's ear can cause permanent damage to the ear, including decreased hearing or hearing loss. However, if patients treat it soon enough, the muffled hearing should reverse itself, and they'll usually find their ears go back to normal. Be sure to let a doctor know if you are experiencing this symptom.
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Fever And Pain
Fever and pain may occur together when individuals have swimmer's ear, or they may have one without the other. Initially, patients may experience some slight discomfort, but as the infection progresses, this can turn into severe pain. If the pain radiates beyond the ear to the face, neck, skull, or the area behind the ear, this can be a sign that infection has spread, and it could lead to hospitalization and a need to receive treatment through an IV. Fever is also a sign the infection has advanced from the early stages. Those who experience fever and pain, especially pain outside of the ear, may need to seek emergency treatment.
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Feeling Of Fullness In The Ear
Beyond pain, affected individuals may have a feeling of fullness in the ear. This can be very uncomfortable, and patients may be tempted to pull on the outer ear or stick foreign objects, like cotton swabs, into the ear canal. Unfortunately, all of this can make the infection worse. This feeling of fullness in the ear may stem from a buildup of fluid, swelling in the ear canal, or a buildup of foreign debris, like wax and dirt. As swimmer's ear progresses, the ear canal may eventually become completely blocked. This uncomfortable feeling may lead to trouble sleeping, and it can even interfere with balance as you walk and move about. However, it should go away once swimmer's ear is treated.
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