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If your child is less attentive, complains of ear ache and talks louder than usual, it’s time to pay attention.


If an otherwise active child is listless, inattentive at school and cries at trifles or if a four-year-old child refers to his ear as the region of discomfort, is not alert to soft voices, tends to talk in a voice louder than his usual pitch, your physician would be concerned about a problem with the ear rather than a behavioural problem. No wonder that after the common cold, the issue which garners more attention in kids less than four years of age is earache.

The human ear is a wonderful organ that gives us a sense of belonging to the world around with its conduction of sounds to the brain. As such there is the external ear which conducts the waves inwards and through the tube the sounds reflect on the thin tympanic membrane, which trebles and vibrates like the speakers of an audio system as it sends this invisible waves of energy into the middle ear. This is an area which contains three fine bones which vibrate and then release these waves into the inner ear for conversion through the auditory nerves and the brain to perceive sounds. Middle ear is prone to some pathology or the other. The pressure in the middle ear needs to be similar to the environment around and to maintain it thus, it is connected to the throat through a fine tube called the Eustachian tube. Whether it is the air that is received into the middle ear or the discharge which needs to be drained out, it occurs through this channel of communication. But just like the common cold which leads to production of a serous discharge, ear infection causes the Eustachian tube to be filled with mucus and later pus if there is secondary infection leading to a block. This only means that the air from the throat cannot get into the middle ear and the discharge in the tube becomes thick and the infection breeds into something bigger. The increased pressure in the middle ear is finally the reason for the child becoming irritable, crying at trifles and in older children enough reason for discomfort.It is also a fact that the children of this age have a Eustachian tube that is smaller than usual and can be compressed by surrounding structures like the adenoids which can physically cause the problem. Children exposed to other siblings or at day school with regular bouts of cold are more prone to this condition apart from the ones who are exposed to cigarette smoke.

Bottle-fed babies also have such infections more than those who are breast fed. These children find the problem worsening while lying down and during sleep because that further causes change in the pressure. The pressure build up causes the rupture of the tympanic membrane and the oozing out relieves to a good extent. As such the child should be better in 2-3 days but the problem tends to be recurrent and symptoms return; one needs to look into any predisposing factors like chronic cold, exposure to other children with cold and improve hygiene in children.

Homoeopathic medicine has good remedies like Chamomilla, Nux vomica, Verbascum which can help relieve the acute pain and discomfort. While medicines like Pulsatilla, Silicea, Kali bich keep the child away from recurrent bouts of cold while Kali mur, Kali sulph help clear the middle ear fluid from developing. For acute suppurative otitis media as it is termed, Homoeopathic medicine has safe and sure remedies.


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