The ear is divided into three parts: 1. The outer ear, meaning the part of the ear you can see on the side of the head plus the ear canal leading down to the ear drum 2. The middle ear, meaning the ear drum, ear bones (ossicles) and the air spaces behind the ear drum and the mastoid cavities 3. The inner ear, meaning where the nerve endings are for the organs of hearing and balance (equilibrium). It is the middle ear that causes discomfort during air travel, and this is so because it is an air pocket inside the head that is vulnerable to changes in air pressure. Normally, each time (or each 2nd or 3rd time) you swallow, your ears make a little click or popping sound. This is the moment that a small bubble of air enters your middle ear, up from the back of your nose. It passes through the Eustachian tube, a membrane-lined tube about the size of a pencil lead which connects the back of the nose with the middle ear. The air in the middle ear is constantly being absorbed by its membranous linin...
Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. While there are different types of ear infections, the most common is called otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum.
The term "acute" refers to a short and painful episode. An ear infection that lasts a long time or comes and goes is called chronic otitis media .
For links to other types of ear infections, see otitis.
Otitis media - acute; Infection - inner ear; Middle ear infection - acute
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
For each ear, a eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat. This tube drains fluid that is normally made in the middle ear. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up. When this happens, germs such as bacteria and viruses can multiply and cause an infection.
Ear infections are co...
An ear drainage culture is a laboratory test to check for infection-causing substances in a sample of fluid, pus, wax, or blood from the ear.
See also: Ear drainage
Culture - ear drainage
How the test is performed
A sample of ear drainage is needed. Your health care provider will use a cotton swab to collect the sample from inside the outer ear canal. In some cases, a sample is collected from the middle ear during ear surgery.
The sample is sent to a laboratory and placed on a special dish (culture media).
The lab team checks the dish every day to see if bacteria, fungi, or viruses have grown. Further tests may be done to specifically identify any substances and determine the best treatment.
How to prepare for the test
No preparation is needed for a lab culture.
How the test will feel
No pain is associated with using a cotton swab to take a sample of drainage from the outer ear. However, ear pai...
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