Skip to main content

Welcome to the Circle Health Group website. We've changed our name from BMI Healthcare. Just as before, we have thousands of specialists offering expert healthcare. Click here to find a specialist or a hospital near you.

Ear infection treatment

Children are most often affected by ear infections. We look at the signs of ear infection and how it can be treated.

Ear infections are most common in children, but can occur in anyone. Usually, ear infections can be treated by a GP, using antibiotics. In more severe or prolonged cases, you may be referred to an ENT consultant for further treatment.

Middle ear infections (otitis media) can produce symptoms such as earache, deafness, high temperature and possibly blood and pus coming from the ear if the eardrum has burst. If a middle ear infection is coming back repeatedly or an eardrum is taking a long time to heal, it may be necessary to operate.

Outer ear infections (otitis externa) generate symptoms such as itching, pain, dulled hearing and discharge coming from the ear.

Where antibiotics or eardrops have not been successful, middle ear infections may be treated through surgery. A small cut may be made in the eardrum in order for fluid to drain out. In children, grommets may be inserted into the ear in order to let air flow through the ear to stop repeated infections.

For the treatment of outer ear infections, if antibiotics or eardrops have not been successful, you may require wax to be syringed from your ear so that ear drops will be more effective, or an ear wick, which is where a soft gauze covered in medication is inserted into your ear, in order to gain direct contact with the infected area. This will usually be carried out by a specialist in hospital, who will need to change the gauze every few days.

Often, ear infections will disappear on their own without treatment. If you are prescribed antibiotics, the infection should clear up within a few days.

For more severe cases, and where surgery is required, recovery will take longer.

If the ear infection is prolonged, it is important to consult your doctor, as a long-term infection can cause deafness.

If you require surgery, there is a small element of risk, as there is with all surgery. Your surgeon will discuss this with you in more detail.

Specialists offering Ear infection treatment

View all specialists

Mr Behrad Elmiyeh

Consultant ENT & Nasal Plastic Surgeon


The Clementine Churchill Hospital 1 more Syon Clinic

View profile Book online

Mr Vinod Prabhu

Consultant ENT & Head & Neck Surgeon

MBBS, DLO, DOHNS (England), MRCS (Edinburgh), FRCS(ORL-HNS) Edinburgh

Werndale Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Akhtar Hussain

Consultant Otolaryngologist and Head & Neck Surgeon


Albyn Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Theo Joseph

Consultant ENT Surgeon

MB, BS (London) FRCS (England) General Surgery FRCS (England) Otolaryngology

Hendon Hospital

View profile Book online

Find a specialist