Middle ear infection are infections that occur behind the ear drum. The cause of ear infection is usually from the nose. These infections can be severely painful with fluid or pus collecting behind the ear drum resulting in hearing loss.
Dr Dennis Chua encounters this type of condition commonly. Sometimes a middle ear infection can result in extreme pain during a flight due to pressure changes. The worst case scenario is a burst ear drum from flying. This is because the eustachian tube (tube connecting the ear and the nose for equalizing) is blocked due to nasal congestion. As a result, pus or fluid collects behind the ear drum and this results in extreme pain during a flight.
Treatment includes trying to equalize pressure between the ear and the nose. The best way to do this is by chewing on a gum or sucking on a sweet. A course of antibiotics is necessary to treat the infection. Frequently nasal sprays to help decongest the nose can also help withe the fluid draining out of the middle ear into the nose. As long as the pus drains out from the ear, the patient should recover fast.