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Shingles is a nervous system disease caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox; it is not a rash or skin infection.
Hearing loss most often accompanies shingles when the rash forms on the head and face around the ear. Ramsay Hunt syndrome occurs when a shingles infection affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. You are more likely to have fewer long-term side effects from shingles if you begin receiving treatment within a few days of your first symptoms. If you delay getting to the doctor, your chances of not suffering any long term side effects falls to about 50 percent. Research indicates that when young children get colds, they end up with an ear infection more than 50% of the time.
It is intended for general information purposes only and does not address individual circumstances.
The virus can lie dormant in the body’s nerve cells for years in those who’ve had chickenpox; when it reactivates, it spreads down the nerves into the skin. In some cases, the hearing loss will be permanent due to damage to the nerves or to the structures of the inner ear.  If you are experiencing symptoms associated with shingles don’t wait to seek medical attention.
It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health.
Diagnosing an ear infectionDoctors usually diagnose an ear infection by examining the ear and the eardrum with a device called an otoscope. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the BootsWebMD Site.


Anatomy of an inner ear infectionThe Eustachian tube is a canal that connects the middle ear to the throat. It is lined with mucus, just like the nose and throat; it helps clear fluid out of the middle ear and maintain pressure levels in the ear. Colds, flu and allergies can irritate the Eustachian tube and cause the lining of this passageway to become swollen. Fluid in the earIf the Eustachian tube becomes blocked or narrowed, fluid can build up in the middle ear. Perforated eardrumWhen too much fluid or pressure builds up in the middle ear, it can put pressure on the eardrum that may then perforate (shown here).
Although a perforated eardrum sounds frightening, it usually heals itself in a couple of weeks. Signs to watch for are tugging or pulling on an ear, irritability, trouble sleeping and loss of appetite. Babies may push bottles away or resist breastfeeding because pressure in the middle ear makes it painful to swallow. Home care for ear infectionsAlthough the immune system puts up its fight, you can take steps to ease the pain of an ear infection. Over-the-counter painkillers such as age-appropriate ibuprofen or paracetamol, are also an option. Antibiotics for ear infectionsAntibiotics can help a bacterial ear infection, but in most cases the infection is caused by a virus and the child’s immune system can fight off the infection without help. Complications of ear infectionsChronic or recurrent middle ear infections can have long-term complications.
These include scarring of the eardrum with hearing loss, and speech and language developmental problems.


A hearing test may be needed if your child suffers from chronic or frequent ear infections.
Ear tubesIf your child has recurrent ear infections or fluid that just won't go away, hearing loss and a delay in speech may be a real concern. The tubes are usually left in for eight to 18 months and usually they fall out on their own. They can become enlarged and can affect the Eustachian tubes that connect the middle ears and the back of the throat.
An adenoidectomy (removal of the adenoids) may be carried out when chronic or recurring ear infections continue despite appropriate treatment - or when enlarged glands cause a blockage of the Eustachian tubes.
Preventing ear infectionsThe biggest cause of ear infections is the common cold, so try to keep cold viruses at bay.
Other lines of defence against ear infections include avoiding secondhand smoke, vaccinating your children and breastfeeding your baby for at least six months.
Allergies and ear infectionsLike colds, allergies can irritate the Eustachian tubes and contribute to middle ear infections.
Swimmer's earOtitis externa, sometimes called “swimmer's ear”, is an infection of the ear canal. Breaks in the skin of the ear canal, such as from scratching or using cotton buds, can also increase risk of infection.



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