JOPLIN, Mo. — Ear infections lead to tens of millions of trips to the doctor every year.
And parents should be looking out for a potential case as the weather gets colder.

“We do see more ear infections here in the fall and winter seasons. It seems there are more viruses around and infections – and so we do see quite a few more ear infections as we approach these seasons,” said Dr. Hallie Baker, ENT Specialist.

They’re most common in young patients but can impact adults as well.

“The ears, nose, and throat are all connected to each other by mucosa – and also from little channels and passageways. So inflammation in the nose can directly cause backup into the ears because that long skinny tube is full of mucosa that can become inflamed as well,” she said.

Most ear infections will clear up with antibiotics. But there can be larger issues if it happens repeatedly.

“Year after year, months after month – that can lead to some chronic damage to the ear itself – the nerve of hearing can actually be affected by ear infections and the toxins that produces so it’s important to treat your ear infections,” Dr. Baker added.