ZocdocAnswersSome pressure in my ears, hearing somewhat diminished and a lowgrade fever, no pain. Ear infection?

Question

Some pressure in my ears, hearing somewhat diminished and a lowgrade fever, no pain. Ear infection?

My fever has never spiked above 100 degrees. 99.8 has been the highest. I was getting over some viral bronchitis - I explained my symptoms to several friends who are doctors, and they told me to skip an office visit and antibiotics because it sounded viral. The fever came almost a week later - it has been sporadic over the past 3 days, just like the hearing loss and feeling of pressure in my ears.

Answer

At this point it is a good idea to have your symptoms checked out by your primary care doctor. Although your symptoms are still probably viral in nature, sometimes a more serious infection can develop in the wake of a viral infection, and your doctor can rule this out for you. The fact that you have not had a real fever is encouraging, because most of the time fever will develop in the setting of a serious infection. Your doctor will take a look in your ears, throat, nose as well as take a listen to your lungs looking for any signs of infection. Excluding a serious infection, the most likely cause of your symptoms is a serous ear effusion, which is a collection of fluid in the middle ear that often develops as one is recovering from a viral cold. This fluid collection is benign (not infected), but it can cause discomfort due to pressure in the ear and decreased hearing. Most of the time, however, a serous ear effusion will resolve on its own and doesn't require any specific treatment. Start by getting a check up with your regular doctor. Good luck!

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